Doing the right thing or risking a lawsuit? Food for thought?

As a Mental Health Instructor for over 10 years, I am enthused to see the growth towards seeing and respecting mental health in in the same way we see and respect physical health.  Everyone is comfortable enquiring if a cold is better – not quite so comfortable asking how someone is feeling on their return to work after say depression.


The internet is full of well intentioned plans and events to raise the bar in talking about mental health and I see more employers supporting events like #MHAW2019 – Mental Health Awareness Week which starts 13 May.  Really great intentions.


But is there a risk of being sued under the Equalities Act 2010 and taken to Employment Tribunal?


Some of the employers I know allow all staff, regardless of screening to see if they are equipped to listen to someone else’s pain, to be a ‘listening ear’.


You don’t know what you are going to hear when you sit down to listen to someone struggling.  It can be an emotive area the listener has strong views on – such as self-harm.  Even if they can listen without judging – are they knowledgeable on how to signpost someone on? do they know how to take care of themselves after listening to someone’s pain?


I feel very strongly that we should be talking more openly in every day conversations about all human issues especially mental health.  But I feel just as strongly that we need to train those listeners how to listen, signpost and look after themselves.


Why not have a #MHAAT (Mental Health Aware And Trained) badge for trained employees to wear all year – not just one week.  Wouldn’t we make more of an impact and reduce the risk of a challenge under the Equalities Act at Employment Tribunal?


What do you think?

Abuse of Employment Tribunals…… a ticking time bomb?

I stumbled across this piece on the This is Money website from January 2011 which I found startling especially as I know it is still true today.


The anguish a legal process like this can have on someone trying to run a small business is huge, yet every step in the process is about giving money to the claimant not whether they have a case, have harassed and  caused harm to someone else through their spurious claims.  Even the ACAS mediation service just wants to agree a financial sum to settle!


It is absolutely right in my opinion that people who have been badly treated by employers should have free redress to compensation but only if they have a real case.


‘Litigants that fail at Employment Tribunal with their spurious claims against employers – even those who aren’t their employers, recruitment consultants etc –  shouldn’t those litigants pay the legal costs of the person/organisation they wrongfully accused’.

What are your thoughts?