Solicitors offer free advice over mental health discrimination

The employment law team at Croydon-based Martin Searle Solicitors is running a campaign next month to stamp out disability discrimination in the workplace.

The solicitors’ action coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week, which takes place from May 10 to 16.

The Martin Searle team has found that the pandemic and lockdowns have resulted in a notable increase in people seeking employment law advice about disability discrimination at work, particularly among workers struggling with issues such as depression and anxiety.

The Office of National Statistics found that the employment rate among disabled people was only 53 per cent, compared to 81 per cent for the population as a  whole. Where people had mental health issues, only 33 per cent were employed; just 21 per cent of people with Autism were in employment.

Fiona Martin, head of employment law at Martin Searle Solicitors, said: “Employers fail to understand who might be considered ‘disabled’, as defined by the Equality Act, and their ongoing duty to consider making reasonable adjustments.

“This is particularly the case where mental health impairments are concerned. This has been exacerbated by some employers attempting to rush employees back to their workplaces after the covid-19 lockdown, despite government advice that where you can work from home, you should continue to do so.”

Martin Searle Solicitors have produced a series of free factsheets, case studies and FAQs for employers and for employees covering basic disability rights, as well as avoiding disability discrimination in redundancy processes and restructures on their website.

For HR, managers and business owners, Martin Searle Solicitors will be running a free virtual seminar on “Managing Ill Health and Disability – Best Practice for Employers” on Thursday May 20, from 1pm to 2pm, which you can book by clicking here.

Martin Searle Solicitors are also offering employers and employees free initial 30-minute confidential advice regarding disability rights and employer duties. Their legal helpline will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout May from 3.30pm to 5.30pm on 01273 609911. You can email to book an appointment at

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