Global HR headlines: Persistent stigma about mental health in the workplace, and Amazon fined

Stigma remains around seeking support for mental health, and poor labour practices come under scrutiny.

While Covid-related restrictions continue to lead to job losses, women in tech are taking their right to be treated fairly to the court. Meanwhile, social networks see value in embracing new talent acquisition channels.

Mental health stigma in the workplace
A survey of US adult workers has revealed that nearly three out of five US workers say a stigma around seeking help for a mental health issue still exists in workplaces.

Results of the poll commissioned by online behavioural health care provider Learn to Live show that 57 percent of the respondents agree that a negative attitude toward taking time off work for mental health reasons exists in their workplace and 62 percent said their boss would judge them if they requested time off for mental health care.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to 57 percent of the respondents paying more attention to their mental health. Other key findings:

  •  7 out of 10 participants said they prefer to take off an entire day, rather than a few hours, to avoid having to tell their supervisor why they’re taking time off.
  •  Two-thirds prefer to keep their mental health care needs vague while talking with supervisors by saying they have “an appointment”
  • 56 percent believe their employer would think they’re unable to perform their job if they request time off for mental health care.

Amazon fined for bad labour practices
An inspection into labour practices at an Amazon warehouse found that the multinational tech company did not provide employees with an environment free of hazards that could lead to serious injuries, resulting in a $7,000 (R95,955) serious violation fine.

Specifically, the inspection noted employees were required to undertake repeated manual labour at a high pace, such as repetitive motions, lifting, carrying, pulling, pushing, forceful exertions, twisting, bending, long reaches, awkward postures, which are all likely to cause injuries, reported The Seattle Times.

The report also noted that Amazon collects data that pressures workers to maintain a very high pace of work without adequate recovery time to reduce the risks of injuries.