Discrimination at work
Sometimes people who have mental health problems are treated worse at work because of their mental health condition. This is called discrimination and, if you experience discrimination at work, you may have a legal right to challenge it.
- The Equality Act 2010 is the law that gives you the right to challenge discrimination. This law may protect you from discrimination when you:
- are applying for a job, at work, made redundant or dismissed (covered in these pages)
- use services or public functions (see our legal pages on discrimination in everyday life)
- buy, rent or live in property (see our legal pages on discrimination when buying, renting or living in property)
- are in education
- join some private clubs and associations.
- To get protection under the Equality Act, you usually need to show that your mental health problem is a disability. ‘Disability’ has a special legal meaning under the Equality Act. To find out if your mental health problem is considered a disability, see our page on disability.
- If you have a mental health problem that is a disability, and you want the protection of the Equality Act, you will probably have to tell your employer about it.
- Generally, employers can’t ask you questions about your mental health before a job offer is made, though there are some exceptions.
- If you think you have experienced disability discrimination at work, there are several things you can do to challenge the discrimination.
- It’s best to resolve disputes informally if you can. But if you cannot sort your problems informally or by raising a formal grievance, you can make a claim to the Employment Tribunal. If you are successful, the Tribunal has power to award you financial compensation (money) and/or make a recommendation (for example, recommending that your employer makes reasonable adjustments to help you at work).
- If your work problems do not count as disability discrimination, you may still have other employment rights.
- This guide covers discrimination at work from the point of view of a person with a mental health problem.
- This guide applies to England and Wales.
- This guide contains general legal information, not legal advice. We recommend you get advice from a specialist legal adviser or solicitor who will help you with your individual situation and needs. See Useful contacts for more information.
- The legal information in this guide does not apply to children unless specifically stated.
This information was published in March 2018. We will revise it in 2020.