14. Can an employer refuse to employ me, give me less favourable employment terms, or dismiss me on the basis of my mental illness?
The definition of disability under the DDO includes a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person's thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgment or that results in disturbed behaviour, and includes disabilities that previously existed but no longer exist. Thus, if you currently have a mental illness (or you used to have a mental illness but have now recovered), you are protected under the DDO as people with other types of disabilities.
In addition, the employment-related provisions under the DDO cover all employment matters including recruitment, training, promotion, employment terms, and dismissal. It may be unlawful for an employer to refuse to employ you, give you less favourable employment terms, or dismiss you on the grounds of mental illness.
The employer has to determine whether or not you can perform the inherent requirements of the job. If you cannot perform the inherent requirements of the job in question, the employer can refuse to employ you or dismiss you. However, under existing legislation, the employer has a duty to provide special services or facilities in order to help you perform the inherent job requirements as long as the provision of such services/facilities would not impose unjustifiable hardship (see question 7) on that employer.
As long as the employee can perform the inherent requirements of the job, the employer cannot discriminate against that employee on the grounds of mental illness.