Non-Compensable Case Study

A senior lawyer, Ms Smith had been taking time off work on an intermittent basis due to suffering from depression. The Partner wanted to support Ms Smith and therefore managed the case at a local level, offering Ms Smith to take time off whenever she wanted.

This continued for a two year period, during which the depression had then resulted in the development of alcohol abuse (whereby alcohol was used as a coping mechanism for the depression, albeit maladaptive). Performance issues were also becoming apparent in Ms Smith.

Over time, the Partner felt out of their depth in terms of how to address the multiple issues with Ms Smith and as such approached HR to ask what to do next.

HR telephoned Resilia and made a referral requesting expert support.

Resilia’s Consultant Psychologist met with Ms Smith and conducted an Independent Psychological Assessment, which reviewed the flags impacting on Ms Smith’s recovery with a holistic assessment.

As a result of the assessment, it was clear that Ms Smith was not engaging in best practise treatment to support her recovery, as well as there being some stressors in her personal life and triggers in her workplace which were impacting on her recovery.

It was recommended that any ongoing performance discussions be put on hold until such time that Ms Smith engage in best practise treatment. An alcohol inpatient stay was recommended in the first instance, whereby on discharge Ms Smith accessed ongoing outpatient support with a treating psychologist, treating Psychiatrist, and GP. These referrals were facilitated upon discussion with Resilia.

The timing of Ms Smith’s return to work coincided with her stabilisation of symptoms of depression and addressing her issues with alcohol. This was done with Resilia consulting her treating team.

Upon Ms Smith’s return to work, a management plan was implemented which clearly identified reasonable adjustments to Ms Smith’s working days, hours, and duties through her period of recovery. This management plan gained input from key stakeholders:  Ms Smith, the Partner, HR, and her treating team, who all agreed on the parameters of the management plan in a meeting.

Upon sign off on the plan, Resilia’s Consultant Psychologist conducted weekly check-ins with all key stakeholders to ensure that the management plan was being followed and that any minor adjustments occurred due to the presence of triggers or stressors.

During this return to work period, Resilia was also able to provide coaching to the Partner around supportive leadership and having discussions with Ms Smith around her workload and performance.

Every four weeks, a case conference was conducted with the key to upgrade the duties, days and hours of Ms Smith. This continued for a four month period until such time Ms Smith was able to be cleared for full hours, days, and duties. This process allowed Ms Smith to return to work after five months. In this time, performance issues were addressed as her symptoms of distress had abated. 

Ms Smith’s file was closed after four weeks of monitoring her successful return to work. 

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