Introducing a new employee with a mental health problem

Introduce an employee with a mental health problem just as you would any other employee.

As the Canadian Human Rights Commission puts it, “An individual’s disability should not define him or her any more than gender, race or any other personal characteristic. Drawing attention to a new employee’s disability should be avoided, since it focuses on an aspect of that employee which — if properly accommodated — is irrelevant to his or her function in your workplace.”

The situation is different if the employee is returning to work after an absence and the employee has agreed to inform his or her colleagues about the mental illness.

If the employee has agreed to disclose the mental illness you can:

  • Provide information to the staff ahead of time about mental illness.
  • Give the staff an opportunity to ask questions about mental illness to an expert.
  • If the employee exhibited violent or other anti-social behaviour before going on leave the staff should be given a protocol for advising the manager if the behaviour reoccurs. Staff should be reassured that their safety is important.


  • “Barrier-Free Employers: Practical Guide for Employment Accommodation for People with Disabilities.” The Canadian Human Rights Commission.
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