Employment equity and mental disability
AbstractPurpose of review
Recent research on the civil rights issue of employment equity for people with psychiatric disabilities is reviewed.Recent findings
Mental disorders, particularly depression, are the most frequent source of occupational disability worldwide and are expected to grow. Employers are increasingly aware of the productivity costs associated with mental disorders and the importance of fostering a mentally healthy workforce. Few firms, however, have explicit policies to include disabled people in their workforce, and many employers continue to express prejudicial views toward people with mental disabilities which would exclude them from competitive work. At the same time, disability legislation has not offered the hoped-for protection for people with mental disorders. Employers have expressed concerns over the costs of making workplace accommodations and have successfully battled for a legal definition of disability that excludes many individuals with mental disorders.Conclusion
In the absence of antistigma efforts directed toward the business community, one wonders if the growing awareness of the productivity costs associated with mental disability will foster greater employment equity, or fuel more subtle forms of employment discrimination. Low employment levels among people with disabilities remain a major determinant of the social disparities they face.