April 22, 2005

Australia Work Ruling for Sz Man

This just in from Australia (and probably not something you'll see in the US any time soon):

Mental illness ruling in Australia, Man who has Schizophrenia gets Job Back

In what is regarded as a workplace precedent for the treatment of people with mental illness, a man sacked for misconduct will get his job back after he was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

The Australian Industrial Relations Commission has ordered Murray Goulburn Co-operative, Australia's largest milk producer, must reinstate the man, who was sacked over two incidents of misconduct at work which have since been attributed to his mental state.

Commissioner Bill Mansfield today ordered Mr Berry's reinstatement after he lodged an unfair dismissal complaint in the AIRC.

Prior to the June 2004 incidents, which occurred shortly before he was committed to a mental hospital by his family, Mr Berry, 27, had a blemish-free record of more than 17 months' employment as a print machine operator at MGC's Leongatha plant.

The National Union of Workers (NUW), which represented Mr Berry, said the case set a precedent for mentally ill people in the workforce.

"It makes it clear that someone who has engaged in conduct beyond their control because they're suffering from a mental illness will be treated in a fairer way as a result of this," she said.

"It's interesting that criminal courts have a lot of standards to do with whether they take mental health issues into account, but there haven't been a lot of precedents about that in regard to unfair dismissals."

Barbara Hocking, executive director of SANE Australia, Mr Berry and his workmates should be congratulated for making a stand for his workplace rights, and the result should encourage other people to do the same.

Sources: Australian newspaper stories


That's awesome!

We've had television ads for a while about acceptance of mental illness, and while it might be becoming something more people are not afraid to talk about, it's not necessarily something you broadcast either.
Although I have to admit that I've only had good reactions from employers myself (about anxiety and depression, which is why I work at home).

Posted by: melanie at April 26, 2005 11:47 PM

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