HR Home Forums Answer for Employee Mental Health Support/Program

Conner Lantz
Post count: 4836

I’m sorry, I’m not sure I understand the Q. Are you asking what a supervisor should do if an employee admits to having mental issues? I’ll assume so.
Yes, the employee would be entitled to accommodations to the point of undue hardship. But the accommodations process should be conducted at a management, rather than supervisor level. So, the supervisor needs to report the information to HR/management. The problem is that under privacy laws, the information is personal health information that can’t be disclosed without consent. That means the supervisor needs to ask the employee for consent. In so doing, the supervisor should make it very clear why he/she’s disclosing the info, to whom the disclosure is being made and, above all, the purposes of the disclosure, namely, to initiate the accommodations process and get the employee the appropriate help.
If the employee refuses to consent, things get tricky. My advice (which IS NOT LEGAL COUNSEL) would be for the supervisor to try and keep the info to him/herself and only report it when and if it becomes a significant safety or performance issue. The supervisor might also be in a position to prevent that from happening by remaining sensitive to the employee’s situation and taking steps to help him/her work through any work-related problems that arise.
Hope this is what you were looking for. Glenn