What is Stress? When pressure at work causes you to have an adverse reaction to it then it becomes stress or occupational stress. Occupational stress is often caused when an employee while performing tasks, responsibilities and pressures connected with their job struggles to manage their workload effectively. An employee is able to make a claim against occupational stress, when an employer fails to protect an employee against undue pressure and stress in the workplace, which later goes on to develop into an identifiable physical or psychological injury. In such instances an employee is entitled to personal injury compensation.
This can be exacerbated by an employee’s lack of:
Often employees who are experiencing occupational stress show a variety of symptoms including, depression, anxiety, insomnia and tiredness. If left unattended, occupational stress can lead to serious psychological illnesses such as clinical depression and posttraumatic stress disorder.
Employers Duty –
In addition to the numerous health and safety statutory duties your employer also has a common law duty to take reasonable care of your health and safety in the workplace.
An employer may be liable for occupational stress if:
Bullying and Disability carry added protection in the workplace:
If the bullying is classed as sexual (which includes your sexuality), religious or racial harassment, or is linked to disability, you have rights under sex, race or disability legislation.
If you have a disability which makes it harder for you to deal with, or more prone to suffering stress, like depression for example, your employer also has a duty to make certain adjustments to help you.
What should you do? –
If you think you’re suffering from work-related stress you should speak to your employer.
For example, positive action you can take:
If your employer is unable – or unwilling – to remove the cause of your stress, you can follow the grievance procedure set out in your employment contract or company handbook. If your workplace has one, your health and safety representative can accompany you to the meeting you have with your employer.
If an employer does offer to take steps to help you, by referring you to an occupational health specialist for example, you should accept their offer, unless there is good reason not to.
Legal Remedy –
If you can’t sort out a dispute through the grievance procedure and you can’t carry out your job in the way your employer needs you to, you may have a claim for constructive unfair dismissal if you consequently leave your job.
Alternatively an employee is able to make a claim against occupational stress, when an employer fails to protect an employee against undue pressure and stress in the workplace, which later goes on to develop into an identifiable physical or psychological injury. In such instances a claim can be taken to court for personal injury compensation.
It does not matter if the employee was also under stress outside the workplace, as long as the events in work were a “material contribution”, and it was reasonably foreseeable that the events would lead to the employee suffering an injury. For example, the employee may have reported the events to their employer, or they may have submitted a doctor’s note, and the employer failed to deal with the incident or make reasonable adjustments to remedy same.
If you believe that you have been subject to stress at work and have suffered an injury as a result of same please contact us for a free assessment on whether you have a claim for compensation on