Mental Health and Disability in the Workplace

  • Recorded on: May 2, 2023

  • Length: 60 minutes


Like so many, you may have questions about mental health in the workplace. Do you need to tell your employer if you struggle with your mental health? What accommodations are you entitled to? What options do you have if you’re discriminated against because of a mental disability? Lawyers Paula Krawus and Laura Track answer these and other common questions about mental health and disability in the workplace in BC.


In this webinar, you will learn:

  • What it means to have a mental disability and whether it includes occasional struggles with depression and anxiety. [2:55]

  • What the Community Legal Assistance Society is and what resources are offered at their Human Rights Clinic. [6:20]

Disclosing to employer

  • How you can speak with a potential employer about gaps in your work experience for time taken to care for your mental health. [9:10]

  • Whether you need to tell your employer that you struggle with alcohol addiction. [12:20]

  • How to communicate with your employer about a disability, including whether you need to do it in writing. [17:05]


  • Whether you can ask for accommodations without disclosing your disability. [22:30]

  • How far an employer must go to accommodate your disability, for example, by providing extra support like reminders and regular check ins to accommodate ADHD. [24:25]

Dealing with problems at work

  • What you can do if your boss is very hard to work with and it’s taking a toll on your mental health. [29:10]

  • Whether you can get fired for calling in sick because your job is stressful and you dread going into work. [31:45]

Taking a leave

  • What to do if you want to go on stress leave, but you’re worried about how it will affect your career prospects. [37:20]

  • What financial support is available if you don’t think you can afford to take time off from work. [40:20]


  • What you can do if you talked about your disability with your employer and now you feel like you’re being treated differently, and maybe even pushed out. [45:00]

  • When it’s the right time to reach out to a lawyer. [47:15]

  • What free or low-cost options are available if you don’t think you can afford a lawyer. [49:10]

Live questions

  • What kind of workplace accommodations are available for ongoing depression and anxiety. [50:55]

  • What is the relationship between unaddressed workplace bullying and mental health leave or sick leave. [53:55]

  • The type of questions an employer can ask a worker to satisfy the duty to ask before discipline. [56:10]

  • Whether a casual or part-time worker is entitled to ask for accommodation. [58:20]


Paula Krawus

Paula Krawus

Paula Krawus is a lawyer and co-founder of PortaLaw, a Vancouver firm that specializes in employment law. She works both in and outside of the courtroom to promote mutually-beneficial workplace relationships. Her strengths as a lawyer come from her ability to empathize and communicate. She approaches problems with a positive mindset and thoughtful advocacy skills, and works best with clients who value collaboration through their legal matters.

Laura Track

Laura Track

Laura Track is a human rights lawyer and the director of the BC Human Rights Clinic, a program of the Community Legal Assistance Society. She advocates on behalf of people who have experienced discrimination and assists complainants to navigate BC’s human rights process. Laura also delivers workshops and presentations to a wide range of audiences to help people understand their human rights. She earned her law degree from UBC, and holds a Masters in International Human Rights Law from Oxford University.

Attendee feedback

“This webinar increased my understanding of employee rights and I feel more confident if I needed to approach my employer with a request for accommodation.”

“Wow! One of the best presentations ever! Thank you so much.”

“The slideshow in this seminar was amazing. It touched on all areas of mental health in the workplace and options. … I related to many of the workplace situations that are hard to cope with and it was encouraging to hear realistic responses from the experts.”

“The presentation was easy to follow. Thank you for your time and effort in making these resources available to the general public.”

“A friend who was on stress leave due to a toxic work environment will find this webinar very helpful!”

“So helpful. Wish I was watching this before I was retired! Excellent advice. Thank you!!!”

“You always do an excellent job with the webinars. I'm a huge fan of the webinars and your website resources. I regularly suggest PLS to my immigrant clients, co-workers, family, and friends.”

Additional resources

From People’s Law School: 

From the BC Human Rights Clinic:


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