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Stress at Work Claims

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) is the cornerstone of UK health and safety legislation and places a duty of care on all employers to maintain a safe working environment for their employees. Individuals who suffer from stress and or depression and or an alternative mental impairment arising due to practises in the workplace may accrue the right to pursue a civil claim against their employer for breach of the duty of care deriving from the health and Safety at Work act 1974.

In addition to this, those individuals who have been treated poorly and suffer from stress or anxiety, or an alternative mental impairment as a result of this, may accrue the right to claim constructive unfair dismissal against their employer. Further information in relation to constructive unfair dismissal can be obtained here

Stress at Work Compensation

Most employees who have been subjected to poor behaviours will argue that they have being constructively unfairly dismissed and attempt to negotiate damages from their employer as a result of this constructive dismissal. This would be the case where the individual resigns due to intolerable working conditions which have the result of causing or exacerbating a stress condition.

The common law duty of care requires an individual to ensure that they take reasonable steps to protect employees from foreseeable harm which could include stress related harm and stress related illnesses. In the event that an employer fails in this duty, then a claim of negligence will arise which can be issued in the civil courts for damages arising from that breach of duty.

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Stress at Workplace Reading

Individuals who are suffering from stress at work should consider addressing any concerns in the workplace which may be giving rise to that stress either informally or formally. An informal approach may be to speak to a manager to attempt to address any concerns in that way without triggering a formal process.

A formal process could include requesting a copy of the company’s internal grievance procedure and following the process dictated therein. This will typically include writing to the employer to explain the nature of the grievance and requesting a formal meeting at which the employer will allow the individual to attend and be accompanied by a colleague of their choice or a trade union representative. If individuals are unable to address the concerns giving rise to stress at work via the company’s formal grievance process, then they may be left with no option other than resigning and pursuing a claim at the Employment Tribunal.

Some employers offer counselling and therapy sessions to individuals who are suffering from stress at work. Employers will be well advised to, at the very least, consider obtaining an occupational medical health assessment if individuals report that they are suffering from work related stress. Occupational health experts can support an individual who is suffering from stress at work and offer guidance to an employer in managing that individual by considering adjustments to the individual’s role or the workplace to facilitate the proper performance of their role.

It is advisable for employers to offer assistance to individuals who are suffering from stress with a view to helping them return to work to continue in their roles. Some employers offer full contractual sick pay for those individuals who are absent for a limited period of time, and others only offer statutory minimum pay which arises after more than four consecutive working days absence. Individuals who are signed off, even for a short period, should be offered a return to work interview at which they can provide further information should they wish to do so about their illness and the causes of it so that the employer can react accordingly.

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