Can I be asked if I have ever experienced mental illness, for example depression?
No, an employer should not ask to be provided with general information about a job applicant’s medical/ACC history but should seek to establish only whether a job applicant has the abilities needed for the job. This includes establishing whether an applicant has any medical conditions or disabilities that might mean the work could not be satisfactorily carried out.
Mental illness is part of the definition of disability which is one of the grounds of discrimination prohibited by the Act. Appendix 1, which sets out the prohibited grounds of discrimination, includes the full definition of the meaning of disability.
A job applicant should first be made aware of the job’s requirements and then asked about any medical conditions or disabilities that might prevent them carrying out the work satisfactorily.
Job applicants who have experienced mental illness often do not disclose that fact because they fear discrimination.