Case Studies

Katrina*, secretary, VIC

Katrina* is a secretary in a large company. She has worked for a senior manager for 10 years, having come with him from another company. They always got on well and her work had been good. After a number of years, Katrina started to suffer from depression, anxiety and panic attacks. She was often absent and when at work, would spend long periods of time away from her desk. Her work performance suffered, she found it difficult to complete work on time and would often forget things.

Jim*, lawyer, QLD

Jim* is a lawyer in a large law firm. Not long after he was recruited he started to become unwell, suffering from depression, anxiety and panic attacks, particularly when he was asked to work at locations other than the office. He had long periods off work and while he did some work from home, his performance was unsatisfactory. His supervisor and the HR manager were aware of the situation and as they felt unsure about how to handle it, they allowed Jim to continue in this working pattern.

Kylie*, HR officer, NSW

Kylie* is an HR officer working for a large retail chain. She was recruited 2 years ago from a similar organisation. While Kylie takes her work seriously, her moods are inconsistent and when she is feeling down she can be uncommunicative and aggressive. She often leaves work early and takes long periods of sick leave, without providing doctor’s certificates.

Kylie has disclosed to her supervisor that she had depression and an eating disorder, conditions which she did not mention at interview and which were not mentioned during reference checks.

Jeff*, local government employee, NSW

Jeff* was a shift worker in local government, working every weekend. In late 2009 he attempted suicide and took a leave of absence. During his absence, his manager maintained respectful contact, mostly through Jeff's wife. Jeff was very clear that he didn't want anyone to know about what had happened. His employer was very careful about maintaining confidentiality, making sure that any documentation about his case was secure. When he was ready to return to work his manager took the initiative and suggested that he come back to work during normal business hours for a period of two weeks.