INSIDER AUGUST 2018

Is it legal to be questioned about your mental health during a job interview?

Generally no, this would not be legal. Employers should make all efforts to avoid any questions relating to health at the interview stage, particularly in relation to mental health. The main reason being if you do ask the question and the candidate discloses that they have an issue, there is then a very high risk that if that candidate is then rejected for the role, they will link that to the disclosure of their health condition and make a claim for discrimination. The employer then has to spend time and money proving that the candidate was objectively not the best person for the role in order to avoid a successful claim against them. Avoiding the question avoids the potential for a claim application stage, however, this should only be used to ask if they need any adjustments for the interview process. For example, if a candidate is in a wheelchair they may need assistance in attending the interview, and may need to disclose this prior to the interview. Likewise, a blind applicant may need adjustments made in terms of application forms, presentations etc. or a candidate with Tourette Syndrome may mention it at this point to avoid worrying about tics at interview. As somewhat of a side note, it is possible to ask candidates about medical issues at the

MENTAL HEALTH AND JOB INTERVIEWS Mental illness is a very personal thing. Whilst societal stigmas surrounding it have changed, it can still be difficult to talk about even to your nearest and dearest. Employees may be reluctant to open up if they’re struggling with mental illness at work and it can be daunting to discuss gaps in CV’s caused by mental illness when applying for a job. We asked ELAS employment law consultant Jacob Demeza-Wilkinson to explain what applicants are and aren’t required to disclose at interview:

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