Monday, June 15, 2009

Mental Illness

BBC NEWS | England | Gloucestershire | Council loses £1m illness lawsuit
A council has lost its High Court case against a former managing director after claiming she withheld a history of depressive illness.
It's good to see people with mental illness still getting shafted in this country. They get the worst of both worlds, less recognition and sympathy in day to day life, but then when something like this happens they're pilloried for not "confessing" to a having been depressed in the past. Imagine being too depressed to go to work anyway, and then your employer tries to sue you for a million pounds. I heard someone on radio 4 phoning in to comment on this story (probably the first time I haven't had to switch off the radio while listeners are phoning in), and he said something like: What if it was a middle aged person who'd had an injury as a kid playing rugby or something and have slightly dodgy knees, and then at 50 break their leg and have to have time off work, would the worker sue them for not "revealing" they're full medical background? I don't think so.

Either way, Cheltenham Borough Council are saying that anyone who's ever been depressed in the past should be legally obliged to tell this to every employer they go for an interview with? Isn't that like, you know, against equal opportunites employment ETC ETC!?!?!? THOSE PESKY EQUAL OPPPORTUNITES LAWS EH!?? I'm sure Cheltenham Borough Council are the kind of people who would call that "Too PC", having to employ people that were once depressed.

I'm glad the court reached this decision, but I wonder if the damage has already been done to this woman and her career.

UPDATE: There's a great post about this at Liberal Conspiracy, old but relevant.

And here's a copy of the email I sent to Cheltenham Borough Council for which I await a reply:
Hello. I've just been reading your Disability Equality statement, and I was wondering if you wanted to amend it to reflect the fact that you're not really interested in employing people with a history of mental illness? It is clear from the Christine Laird case that this is your position, and I think it is wrong for you to state otherwise on your website.

Thank you for your time.

No comments: