Stress at Work Claims
If you have suffered from avoidable stress in your workplace, our expert industrial disease claims expert can help you file a stress at work claim. Studies have shown that stress in the workplace is on the rise and is especially prevalent in public sectors. If you believe your employer is at fault, we can help you to make a stress at work compensation claim.
Get in touch today for expert help and advice if you feel that you are struggling with a high stress level in your job.
What is occupational stress?
Because most jobs put you at risk of some form of common stress, the particular stress that you have experienced must be classed as having caused you some form of psychiatric injury. In order for this to be proved, these four criteria must be met:
- Condition. It must be medically proved that you are suffering from a recognised health problem and psychiatric injury
- Causation. The psychiatric injury must, on balance, have been caused primarily by severe issues caused by stress at work and not any external factors such as bereavement or problems in your home life.
- Foreseeability. You will need to prove that your employers should have foreseen the risk of you developing a mental illness to receive compensation for stress. This is difficult to prove without expert legal support.
- Negligence. You must be able to prove that the psychiatric injury you have suffered was the fault of your employer and could potentially have been avoided. Examples of this may be if your employer provided you with too much work, inadequate training or generally failed in their duty of care towards you.
What is my employer’s responsibility?
In any workplace, your employer has a legal responsibility to maintain their duty of care towards you as their employee in order to avoid employer liability and you as an employee making a claim for compensation. Basic requirements state that employers must:
- Provide health and safety training
- Provide specialised equipment – such as protective clothing – if necessary
- Deal with staff grievances promptly
- Take allegations of any misconduct seriously
- Protect their staff from any discrimination or bullying and harassment at work
- Ensure that staff do not work excessive hours or have an excessive workload
If your employer has failed to do any of these, then compensation for work related stress could be available to you.
What should I do?
Landmark cases in workplace stress have outlined some of the ways in which employees are responsible for making their employers aware of their own mental stresses. Particularly in the case of Hatton v Sutherland, it was found that:
- The individual is in charge of his/her own mental health
- The individual can gauge whether the job was doing him/her any harm
- The individual can then do something about it
It is therefore up to the employee to make it obvious that there was a ‘sufficient indication of impending harm to health arising from stress at work which was plain enough for any reasonable employer to have realised, so as to trigger a duty to do something about it.’ (LJ Hale in Sutherland v Hatton 5/2/02).
Another case that explored this idea is that of Mr Barber v Somerset County Council. This was the first occupational stress case to go to the House of Lords and involved a teacher – Mr Barber – who felt that he could no longer deal with his workload after a restructuring. Mr. Barber ultimately won his case, but it was considered borderline and highlighted the responsibility of the employee to always communicate problems to the employer. One Judge stated that; ‘They are all adults. They choose their profession,’ thus implying that there was too high a duty of care expected from the employer. Stress compensation claims can, for this reason, be difficult to prove.
Taking these cases into account, it is beneficial to seek specialist advice that relates to your individual case to have the best possible chance of success if you suffer from stress at work.
Get in touch today for expert help from our solicitors for stress at work claims. We are fully authorised and regulated by the solicitor’s regulatory authority and offer support on a No Win No Fee basis.Get in touch