Battling mental health issues: Know your legal rights before you share information with employers

Published: May 31, 2019 12:00:32 PM

Depending on the job, a candidate can let the interviewing board know about some of their mental health issues that they might have overcome or continue to face.

As a prospective employee, a candidate must be aware of his/her legal rights regarding mental health at the workplace. (Representative image)

By Pooja Priyamvada

Often in job interviews, candidates are asked questions regarding mental health but they are smartly worded by hiring managers and might not sound like direct questions about mental health. For instance, if a candidate is asked “Please share about an instance when you handled a lot of pressure.” It is a question about evaluating your mental health status and outlook.

So while candidates prepare their resume and Linkedin profiles and research about the particular company’s policy, work culture, or profile rarely do candidates delve into the mental health expectations of the company from a potential associate or employee.

Sometimes prospective candidates might be battling mental health issues like anxiety, depression, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) , it becomes important to be prepared to answer questions and lay forth your mental health status while getting interviewed.

As a prospective employee, a candidate must be aware of his/her legal rights regarding mental health at the workplace.

For instance if someone mentions their mental health issues during an interview, they are doing so by choice. The employer is legally liable for making adjustments – like offering a flexible schedule to facilitate the candidates’ mental health symptoms and mentioning work conditions clearly right at the inset.

More and more employers are now aware of mental health issues. Since mental health is becoming a priority world over, most reputed employers have better resources to decide about hiring the right candidates.

READ: Women in full time jobs more prone to mental health issues compared to men in same jobs

In several countries, laws have banned pre-employment questionnaires that made it mandatory for potential candidates to provide information particularly about mental health, sexual preferences, religion etc.

Depending on the job, a candidate can let the interviewing board know about some of their mental health issues that they might have overcome or continue to face.

If someone is a mental health survivor, they must avoid over-exaggerating their potential during an interview and must remain as realistic as possible.

Being honest at the hiring stage regarding your health condition might facilitate getting support in the future from the employer in terms of flexible schedules or adjusted workloads.

Speaking clearly and assertively about mental health in interviews thus is of great benefit for both the candidates and the company.

(The author is a translator, awarded blogger and social media enthusiast. Views expressed in this column are personal.)

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