Stress at work can be a major contributing factor to mental health issues in the workplace. Employers have legal obligations to eliminate and minimise health and safety risks in the workplace under health and safety legislation.
Employers can take steps to reduce stress in the workplace by:
- addressing discrimination, harassment and bullying at work by providing training for employees and by responding appropriately to complaints
- offering flexible work arrangements, such as part-time work or making changes to start and finish times
- offering peer support and mentoring
- offering counselling services
- providing regular rest breaks and limits on overtime.
Workplace stress is linked to physical and mental health problems. People with illnesses, including mental illnesses, can be protected by the Disability Discrimination Act. This makes it against the law to discriminate against a person because of their disability.
Employers must identify possible workplace practices that may cause, or contribute to, the mental illness of workers and take actions to eliminate or minimise these risks.
It is not unlawful to discriminate against an employee on the basis of disabilities if the person cannot perform the inherent requirements of a job after reasonable adjustments have been made.