Job Applications Your Rights by forsythe


									        Job Applications & Your Rights
       A Forum for People with Experience of Mental Illness
                              Monday Feb 23rd 2004

Facilitators: Sonja Goldsack (Goldsack Consulting), Nicole Dalley (Workfirst)


   1) Introduction
      Hilary Lapsley, Mental Health Commission

   2) The Human Rights Act in Relation to Job Applications
      David Peirse, Human Rights Commission

   3) The Privacy Act in Relation to Job Applications
      Sebastian Morgan-Lynch, Privacy Commission


    4) Disclosure: should you tell? Pros & Cons
       Nicole Dalley, Workfirst Employment

   5) Fighting Discrimination
      Jude Ball, Like Minds Project – Regional Public Health

                      KEY MESSAGES TO TAKE WITH YOU…

      Employment is important for recovery & quality of life, but unfortunately many
       service-users are excluded from employment because of discrimination.

      The fact that a person has experience of mental illness gives no indication of
       their ability to do a particular job. Look at John Kirwan, Winston Churchill,
       Mahinarangi Tocker, Buzz Aldrin, Virginia Wolfe, Mike Chunn, and hundreds
       of others who have experience of mental illness, but who work, run
       businesses and have a vital role in the workforce just like anyone else.

      Under the Human Rights Act (1993) it is unlawful to discriminate against a
       person on the basis of disability, including mental illness.

      Under the Privacy Act (1991) employers may only collect information that they
       need – it is unlawful for them to collect irrelevant information.

      Some lawful questions may still be problematic for job-seekers who have
       experience of mental illness. There are job-clubs & agencies that can provide
       support and advice about disclosure & other issues.

      If you feel you have been discriminated against, make a complaint. By
       speaking out, you are helping to make the world a better place.
                        The Human Rights Act (1993)

      The Human Rights Act protects New Zealanders from unlawful
       discrimination in a number of areas of life, including employment.

      Under the Human Rights Act (1993) it is unlawful for an employer to
       discriminate against a person on the basis of disability, including
       mental illness.

      Employers may not include questions on application forms that indicate
       that the employer intends to discriminate on prohibited grounds (e.g.
       “Have you ever had a nervous breakdown or mental illness?”)

      Employers can lawfully ask about health problems or disabilities that
       may affect the applicant’s ability to satisfactorily carry out the duties of
       the job, or may pose a risk of harm to the applicant or others.

For more information about the Act see or call the Human
Rights Infoline 0800 496 877.

                      The Human Rights Commission

The primary functions of the Human Rights Commission are:

      to advocate and promote respect for, and an understanding and appreciation of,
       human rights in New Zealand society; and
      to encourage the maintenance and development of harmonious relations between
       individuals and among the diverse groups in New Zealand society.

The Commission also has the power to resolve disputes about breaches of
the Human Rights Act. The dispute resolution service:

      Is free
      Is private and confidential to those involved
      Does not require parties to have legal representation.

To lodge a complaint with the Human Rights Commission call 0800 496 877.

For more information about making complaints or about the disputes
resolution process see or call the Human Rights Infoline 0800
496 877
                         The Privacy Act (1991)
The Privacy Act sets out 12 information privacy principles dealing with the
collection, holding, use and disclosure of personal information. The principles
also give you a right to access information about yourself and to ask for it to
be corrected.

Under the Privacy Act (1991) employers may only collect information that they
need – it is unlawful for them to collect irrelevant information. Employers also
need to tell applicants why they are collecting the information and what they
are going to use it for.

You can complain to the Privacy Commissioner about any action which
seems to be an interference with your privacy.

Complaints should be put in writing and can be posted to:

The Privacy Commissioner
P O Box 466
Fax 09-302 2305

Complaints can also be emailed to but you should
include a postal address and a telephone number.

In your complaint you should also include:

      a brief description of the action complained about;
      relevant dates;
      the name and address of the agency complained about (and the
       names of any people within the agency who have been involved with
       your complaint);
      copies of relevant correspondence.

If in doubt about whether the action can be complained about, you can phone
the Commissioner's enquiries line (0800 803 909) and check with an enquiries

For more information see or call the Office of the Privacy
Commissioner on 0800 803 909
                      To Disclose or not to Disclose?

There are advantages & disadvantages of telling an employer (or potential employer)
that you have a mental illness. A lot depends on the attitude & understanding of the

     Advantages of Disclosure                  Disadvantages of Disclosure
        Support gained in the workplace             Discrimination & stigma
        Employer obliged to make                    Risk of not getting interview/job
         reasonable accommodation                    May limit opportunities &
        Training for staff, employer,                advancement
         supervisor                                  May be perceived as less
        Education/destigmatisation –                 competent, undervalued
         client, others                              May be treated differently
        Honesty from the start                      Vulnerability, embarrassment,
        Reduces stress of secrecy & fear             feeling different, isolated
         of being found out                          Employer may blame any
        Get employers that are                       negative situation on your illness
         understanding                               Scape-goating, bullying
        Access to funding/subsidies                 Stereotypes & preconceived
        Feelings of acceptance and                   ideas may be a barrier
         belonging                                   More pressure to prove yourself
        Bonding of staff                            Possible double standards -
        Increased tolerance, breaks down             more may be expected of you

There are also advantages and disadvantages to NOT telling:

  Advantages of NON-Disclosure                       Disadvantages of NON-
        More job opportunities                            Disclosure
        No discrimination                           You can‟t get subsidies, support
        Personal rights/choice/privacy               or „reasonable accommodation‟
                                                     Angry employer (and possible
                                                      job loss) if found out later
                                                     Potential for being “outed” &
                                                      anxiety and stress that goes with
                                                     Ethical issues with not being
                                                      open & honest
           Employment Agencies & support organisations
             for people who experience mental illness
 These are a few of the agencies & organisations that can assist people with
   experience of mental illness to get jobs in the open market. Typically they
offer services like career counselling, help with writing a CV, job-seeking skills
  and interview techniques, and ongoing support once you have found a job.
  They may also provide opportunities to meet other job-seekers, for mutual
    support. Each organisation is different though, so please call for details.

Ace Employment
111 Brougham St, Mt Victoria
Ph 04 385 7302                      Supported employment services and Job Clubs

32-34 Kent Tce, Wellington
ph 04 384 7456                      Supported employment services.

Take 5
212 Knights Rd, Lower Hutt
ph 569 3162 or 569 7271             Job Club, every Wednesday 11am-12:00

Valley Transitionz
Lower Hutt
Ph 560 3164                         Transitional employment

Whai Kahurangi (SF)
163 Thorndon Quay, Wellington
ph: Paddy Twist –04 499 1047        Education, employment and recreation service,
                                    including job-seeker workshops.
330 High St, Lower Hutt
ph 913 6400                         Assistance for employment

61-63 Thorndon Quay, Wellington
ph 494 9166                         Service for EIS clients only

Worklink (Wellink Trust)
203-209 Willis St, Wellington
ph 801 8500

14 Laings Rd, Lower Hutt
ph 560 3164                         Supported employment services

Level 4, Northcity Plaza, Porirua
Ph 237 7141

Coastlands, Paraparaumu
Ph 04 297 1950                      Supported employment services

XACT Personnel (Q‟nique Ltd)
20 Raroa Rd, Lower Hutt
ph 570 2320                         Educational & vocational services
                      Fighting Discrimination
The following organisations are run by mental health consumers/tangata
whaiora and provide information, support and advocacy for individuals
with experience of mental illness who feel they have been discriminated

Wellington Mental Health Consumers Union
41-47 Dixon Street, Wellington
ph 801 7769

Oasis Network
14 Laings Rd, Lower Hutt
ph 566 1601

Kapiti Choices
19b Milne Drive, Paraparaumu
ph 04-905 2110

Te Roopu Pookai Taaniwhaniwha
Matahauriki, Bedford St, Porirua
Ph 237 9608

There are also organisations that provide free initial legal advice to
individuals, including advice on discrimination issues:

Wellington Community Law Centre
56 Victoria St, Wellington
Ph 499 2928

Porirua Community Law Centre
Pember House, 16 Hagley St, Porirua
Ph 237 6811

The following organisations are working to reduce discrimination through
education, research, advocacy and/or policy work. They do not normally
provide direct assistance to individuals, but they may be interested to hear
about your experience of discrimination, since real life examples are helpful
when arguing that change is needed.

Education House, Willis St, Wellington
Ph 384 3303

Mental Health Commission
Ph 04 474 8900
Mental Health Foundation
Ph 04 384 4002

“Like Minds” Project – Wellington Region Providers:

Regional Public Health, Mental Health Promotion (Mainstream provider)
Ph 04 570 9178

Te Roopu Pookai Taaniwhaniwha (Maaori Provider)
Ph 237 9608

Pacific Community Health – PaCH (Pacific Provider)
Ph 237 7751

                      About the “Like Minds” Project

The “Like Minds, Like Mine” project to counter the stigma and discrimination
associated with mental illness was established as a five year project in response to
the 1996 Mason Report. Since 2001 the Government have maintained the project
through public health baseline funding.

The vision of the „Like Minds, Like Mine‟ project is a society that values and includes
all people who experience mental illness. As well as the ads that you‟ve seen on TV
there is also „behind the scenes‟ work going on nationally and locally to counter
stigma and discrimination. This forum, which is part of an ongoing employment rights
campaign, is one example of local „Like Minds‟ work.

As a “Like Minds” provider, Regional Public Health:
    Provides Mental Health Awareness workshops and Hearing Voices that are
       Distressing workshops for community leaders, family members, and front-line
       staff e.g. WINZ, Police, Mental Health Support Services, Women‟s Refuge

      Supports, promotes and partially funds Speakers Bureau, a group of
       professional speakers who provide training and „tell their stories‟ about living
       with mental illness & discrimination.

      Engages in policy work and advocacy to address discriminatory practices.

      Monitors and works with the media to debunk the myths and stereotypes
       around mental illness and promote positive stories of people living with mental

           To find out more, check out the Like Minds website or contact one of the regional providers listed
                            Where to now?
               Job Application Rights Campaign
      It is hoped that this “Job Application & Your Rights” forum will be a
       launching pad for continued employment rights action

      The next steps will be to:

           form a core group to drive the campaign

           put together an action plan

           approach employers & support them to change their
            discriminatory practices

                       We need your support!
 If you believe this issue is important & you endorse this campaign, please fill
   out your details on the form at the back of this handout & return it today or
                                      post to:

                                   Jude Ball
                              Like Minds Project
                            Regional Public Health
                             Private Bag 31-907
                                  Lower Hutt

                               Ph 04 570 9178

Filling out the form does not oblige you in any way – we just want to know
who our allies are so that we can keep you in touch with the campaign, and
possibly call on you for help if & when we need it. You can choose to be as
involved (or un-involved) as you want to be & can opt out at any time.

 This “Job Applications & Your Rights” Forum has been brought to you by Regional Public
       Health in association with the Human Rights Commission, The Mental Health
  Commission, the Privacy Commission and Workfirst Employment. The organisers would
   like to thank all of the many people that have provided support, encouragement and
      advice along the way, in particular Gael Surgenor (formerly at the Mental Health
      Foundation), Sarah Steer (Wellington Community Law Centre), Cheryll Graham
 (Wellington Mental Health Consumers Union) and Sonja Goldsack (Goldsack Consulting)

      Yes! I believe this is an important issue. Please keep me
informed about this campaign

         I can send „Like Minds‟ examples of “dodgy” application
forms, if I come across them

      I am willing to tell „Like Minds‟ about discrimination I have
experienced when applying for a job

      I can spread the word about this campaign to other tangata
whaiora / people with experience of mental illness and their allies

       I am interested in joining a core-group that will help to plan
& direct this campaign

       I would like to be actively involved in campaigning, e.g.
protest marches, letter-writing to newspapers, approaching

   (Other, including specialist skills) I can help by

Name ……………………………………………………………………

Organisation (if applicable) ……………………………………………


Phone …………………………………………………………………….
E-mail …………………………………………………………………….

Note: if you have any questions that have not been answered
today, please write them on the back of this sheet & someone
                      will get back to you.
              Job Applications and your Rights
            A Forum for People with Experience of Mental Illness

                              Evaluation Form

Please give an answer to each question by circling the term which best suits
your response to the statement. Feel free to add any further comments to the
back of the paper.

   1. This forum provided information that was helpful & relevant.
      Yes, very        Mostly           Somewhat           No, not very


   2. The information was given at the right pace and the right level for me.
      Yes, just right    No, it was too fast/complex     No, it was too slow


   3. This forum gave me a good understanding of job applicants‟ rights
      under the Human Rights & the Privacy Acts
      True      False


   4. This forum gave me more confidence to stand up for my rights/help
      other people stand up for their rights
      Yes, very much so             Yes, a little           No, not really


   5. As a result of this forum, I know more about where I (or others) can go
      for help with employment issues.
      Yes, a lot more                 Yes, a little more        No, not really


   6. Do you have any further comments about this forum? _____________

   7. Do you have any suggestions for future forums?__________________

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