Wholistic Health in 2017: Why Employers Need to be Aware of Psychological Injuries and their Warning Signs.
There is a primary duty among employers to identify workplace hazards. Oftentimes they will easily identify physical risks as part of this duty, however, they can sometimes fall short when it comes to psychosocial hazards and risks of psychological injury.
In 2015, there was a case that involved an employer’s failure to assess the health of an employee displaying obvious symptoms of mental illness. Since this it has been clear that psychosocial hazards cannot be ignored and should be identified and the risk level assessed.
There are a couple of ways you can approach an employee who may be at risk of a psychosocial injury; you can have a caring discussion to check in with them and see how they’re going, or, for more serious risks, you can direct the employee to attend a medical examination.
There also needs to be an understanding of the difference between performance issues and medical conditions. In a 2014 case an employee was dismissed for misconduct following a period of poor performance. The employee won as there was a failure on behalf of the employer to properly separate the employee performance issues from their health issues when they were dismissed.
DID YOU KNOW: Where a medical condition is affecting work performance, you must request an employee undergo a targeted medical examination specifically designed to reveal their fitness (or otherwise) to perform the inherent requirements of their role.