Mental health and workplace investigations: What are your obligations?

  • Mental illness in the workplace is an area for all employers to bear in mind when conducting workplace investigations.
  • It is crucial for employers to ensure that workplace investigations are conducted sensitively and in a timely manner.
  • Flawed workplace investigations may cause psychological injury or exacerbate pre-existing mental illnesses.

Business woman meditating

Statistics suggest that approximately 45 per cent of Australians aged between 16 and 85 will experience a mental illness at some point in their life.1 As a result, there is a greater awareness of mental illness in the community at large, and employers are increasingly confronting myriad complex issues during each stage of the employment relationship, from recruitment right through to dismissal.

In recent cases from across the country, courts and tribunals have highlighted the importance of both considering the impact of workplace investigations on employees’ mental health and the consequences of failing to do so. This article considers three such cases and their implications for employers.

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