Bringing a Claim for Workplace Stress
A recent survey has revealed that 23% of those interviewed reported being bullied in the workplace with 25% stating that they feel excluded. This rise has seen a rise in workplace stress and complaints that employers are not doing enough to help prevent this.
Employer responsibilities to reduce stress
Employers have a duty to their employees to care for health of their staff, this duty extends to prevention of stress related illnesses. They must make sure that assistance, support, training and guidance is given to staff in order to help avoid workplace stress or bullying. Failure to do so could risk the employer being liable for injuries caused by this workplace stress.
If you are experiencing workplace stress then you should raise this with your manager or HR representative and request that they address the situation and provide you with the appropriate support.
In most cases your employer will be put on notice about any potential damage to health as a result of any working conditions that you may be under in order to give them an opportunity to rectify the situation.
If an employer has been made aware of a problem but fails to take appropriate remedial action and this failure risks the health and wellbeing of an employee then they will be likely to be liable for any stress-related illnesses caused.
Causes of workplace stress
Workplace conditions that are likely to cause stress-related illness are:
- Bullying and harassment – As mentioned above people as many as 23% of workers could be experiencing bullying. Whatever the reason for bullying and exclusion, whether it be due to prejudices, lack of qualifications or disputes with popular employees, this workplace stress can have a serious impact on mental health and has been linked to diagnoses of anxiety or depression.
- Lack of support – where an employee is not given the appropriate support, guidance or assistance to carry out their role then this can lead to a lack of confidence, a feeling of being overwhelmed or result in them being under too much pressure.
- Workload – Where an employer makes unrealistic demands of their employees by giving them an excessive workload then stress and the related illnesses is likely to occur.
Action available to employees
Employees are entitled to be kept safe at work and this relates to both their physical and mental wellbeing and employers have a duty of care towards their employees to keep them safe. Therefore, if you believe that your employer has caused (whether it be actively or passively) an increase in your workplace stress and this has resulted in an injury to your health then you may be entitled to bring a personal injury claim against your employer.
James Bowles, a Solicitor in the Dispute Resolution team, said:
“If you would like advice regarding a potential injury that you have suffered at work as a result of stress or for further information on the issues raised in this blog please contact a member of our Dispute Resolution team.”