Proactive managers need to be ‘on the ball’

mental health

In a case from 2015, an organisation had to compensate a former employee after they were dismissed for poor performances arising from mental health challenges. Although implementing an action plan to improve performance, two months later the organisation terminated their employment.

The matter went to the Fair Work Commission as an unfair dismissal claim. The organisation, from the finance industry, disputed the claim as the employee had been the subject of what it viewed as a legitimate performance management process since 2012. The organisation also claimed that it was not aware of the mental health condition of the individual involved.

The commission ruled that although the organisation had a valid reason for dismissal, it should have been aware of the ‘reasonably obvious’ mental health issues. As such the employer was entitled to compensation. This decision clearly suggests that organisations need to be ‘on the ball’ when performance drops and partake in proactive conversations about an employee’s well-being. Is the bar too high for managers in the modern workplace?  Is it too much to ask them to observe and respond to performance matters with one eye on achieving organisational and team outcomes, while having the other on the mental well-being of their team members?

Read about our Mental Health and Well-Being Programs or enquire about the eLearning Program “Managing Mental Ill-Health in the Workplace” to request a test login.