Inclusion practice and the law

Applying the legal framework, understanding unconscious bias, and demonstrating inclusive practice
This section offers information on good work practices in the following areas:

  • Manage mental health issues in the workplace: 
    • productive employment relationships 
    • discrimination  
  • Stress and Bullying  
  • Flexible Working Arrangements  
  • Reasonable Accommodations.
NOTE: The legal information provided throughout this toolkit is for guidance only and should not be regarded as an authoritative statement of the law, which can only be made by reference to the particular circumstances which apply. It may, therefore, be wise to seek legal advice. 

Productive employment relations

People generally know how to deal with physical injuries, but feel unsure and lack confidence in dealing with mental health issues. 

A starting point to manage mental health issues in the workplace is effective communication with employees to develop an open culture where employees feel able to discuss their problems.


The Human Rights Act and the Employment Relations Act prohibit discrimination against people with mental health issues or against those caring for them.

  • Employers can be liable for discrimination by employees, contractors, and volunteers.
  • Employers can protect themselves against liability by implementing a suitable discrimination, harassment, and bullying prevention programme.

Stress and bullying

Challenges are “an opportunity to win” that motivate us to accomplish things and can be a good kind of stress. Threats are “an opportunity to lose” that can lead to low morale and distress in the work environment.

Everybody at some point needs to take some time out, whatever the reason. 

Flexible working arrangements

The employee should be able to say, “This is what I’ll do to stay healthy at work” and the employer needs to be able to say, “This is what I can do if concerns arise.”

Reasonable accommodations

Reasonable accommodation is not about lowering the standards of the job performance or qualifications; it is about changing the way those standards are met.