Mental health disclosures queried
The Green Party is set to investigate claims that employers, including a government ministry, are including questions about mental health on job applications.
The investigation, which began yesterday, will allow people to submit their stories of potential discrimination when applying for jobs.
Greens’ mental health spokeswoman Chloe Swarbrick has been ‘‘blown away’’ by the number of people who have been questioned about their mental health while applying for work.
‘‘There is a surprising number of people who reported having been asked on their job applications, whether it’s at the interview stage or on the application forms, to declare their mental health history. I want to get to the bottom of it and see what kind of response we can have legislatively or culture-wise.’’
She said it seemed particularly prevalent in the public sector and worried the practice could lead to potential discrimination.
Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson welcomed the Greens’ survey, and said he hoped it would encourage people to talk about their experiences of mental health in the workplace – both good and bad.
Yesterday found online job application forms at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade that asked about applicants’ mental health status. The application said if information was incorrect, misleading or omitted, the person might be disqualified from getting the job or fired.
A ministry spokesperson said MFAT was an equal opportunities employer, and it operated in a ‘‘unique environment’’ where roles required security clearance, and that was why the question was included.