Work-related stress: can I claim against my employer?
Did you know that one in four adults experience a diagnosable mental health problem at any given time in their lives? With anxiety and depression on the rise, it is more important now than ever for employers to ensure they are fully aware of the issue and provide a fully supportive environment to their workers. Due to the escalation in mental health issues (not always related to work, at least at first), the issue is increasingly complicated for employers but the question that remains the same for an employee is: can I make a stress related injury claim against my employer?
What should your employer be doing?
First things first, your employer has a duty of care, which means which means they are responsible for ensuring that their employees are not exposed to risk of psychological harm during the course of their employment. In which case, how should your employer be doing this? There are various ways that your employer can manage and reduce stressful situations to aid employees and ideally your employer should warrant that these steps are in place before signs of stress crop up. It’s worth mentioning that if an employee has registered their recognised mental health condition, one would expect measures to be in place from the get go.
Not all of the following actions are required by law but a good employer will do whatever is needed to safeguard their employees.
- Employers must inform all managers of the Health and Safety Executive’s Management Standards for work-related stress and implement any necessary actions;
- Engage in the Fit for Work scheme which provides an occupational health assessment and health/work advice to employees as well as employers to help people return to or stay in work after illness;
- Provide training on how to manage employees with mental health conditions to build awareness of the potential dangers of prolonged occupational stress, amongst other matters;
- Conduct return to work interviews with the employee to fully understand their situation as well as to be clear on expectations from both employee and employer;
- Where appropriate, offer a confidential counselling service to the employee if there is one available;
- Monitor the situation – as part of their duty of care, employers must keep track of work hours and capabilities to avoid excessive workloads causing further stress.
What if I think I still have a case?
If you feel that your employers are breaching their duty of care, you could be entitled to raise a personal injury negligence claim against them. It is worth noting that case law in this area is constantly developing - and at a rapid pace - which has resulted in a number of conflicting decisions. In spite of this, if you feel that your employer has not followed the necessary procedures in order to provide a duty of care to you as well as provide a supportive environment, you should seek assistance from professionals. Our on-site team of certified experts at Fonseca and Partners are here to help, so why not fill out our free claims form to see if you have a case? We operate on a no win no fee basis, so be secure in the fact that you know you are in safe hands.