PBJ How Oregon Works: Legal Challenges Created for Manufacturers by Workplace Mental Health Issues and How They Can Address Them


For the manufacturing segment of Portland Business Journal’s How Oregon Works series, Stoel Rives’ labor and employment law attorneys John Dudrey and Melissa Healy contributed an article titled “2 Things for Manufacturers to Keep in Mind About Mental Health Issues in the Workplace,” published November 5, 2021. Dudrey and Healy outline some considerations for manufacturers grappling with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of their employees.

The authors note that mental health issues in the workplace often are legal issues — they can qualify as “disabilities” under state and federal disability laws. They can qualify as “serious health conditions” under state and federal family leave laws, along with state sick leave laws, and may also trigger a manufacturer’s legal obligations under state and federal workplace safety laws, which include providing a safe workplace and workers’ compensation benefits.

Dudrey and Healy counsel that manufacturers proactively address mental health issues in their workplaces and suggest several actions they can take to do so. They conclude: “Supervisors and management should be trained to be mindful of mental health issues. … And, of course, they should be trained to spot potential legal issues when they arise and know when to consult with Human Resources or otherwise offer an employee additional assistance.”

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