How Footballer Joey Barton Is Suffering From Stress At Work
News has recently surfaced that Rangers Football Club player Joey Barton has been signed off work by his doctor due to stress since Tuesday.
It is important to mention that due to some previous controversial incidents involving Joey Barton, personal opinions on him have been negative. For this situation however, these opinions should be completely disregarded, including the doubt that people have about the genuine nature of Joey’s stress related illness.
His situation must be addressed with the same empathy as anyone else’s stress related issue would be.
When does stress at work become a serious issue?
Stress is a very serious issue and affects everyone differently with many people dealing with stress in their own individual way. Furthermore, how much somebody gets paid and the nature of their job, has no bearing on the stress they could potentially be suffering from and how treatment for this stress should be approached.
Each complaint must be taken seriously and the correct and appropriate steps must be taken by employers to deal with it.
Employers are under a legal obligation to take work related stress seriously in all circumstances, if it is not taken seriously then they open themselves up to further legal action.
With regards to Joey’s situation, it is not yet known what further action, if any, he wishes to take. However If Joey Barton can show that he has one of nine protected characteristics stated in the Equality Act 2010, he could potentially look to make a claim for discrimination.
What are the nine protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010?
A person is protected from discrimination if they can prove it happened because of at least one of the below characteristics:
Age – A person belonging to a particular age (for example 32 year olds) or range of ages (for example 18 to 30 year olds).
Disability – A person has a disability if she or he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
Gender reassignment – The process of transitioning from one gender to another.
Marriage and civil partnership – Marriage is no longer restricted to a union between a man and a woman but now includes a marriage between a same-sex couple.
Pregnancy and maternity – Pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant or expecting a baby. Maternity refers to the period after the birth, and is linked to maternity leave in the employment context. In the non-work context, protection against maternity discrimination is for 26 weeks after giving birth.
Race – Refers to the protected characteristic of Race. It refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins.
Religion and belief – Religion has the meaning usually given to it but belief includes religious and philosophical beliefs including lack of belief (such as Atheism).
Sex – A man or a woman.
Sexual orientation – Whether a person’s sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite sex or to both sexes.
But could Joey make a claim even though he has been employed by Rangers for less than two years?
Joey only recently signed a 2 year contract with Rangers Football Club, so he would not usually be able to bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal due to him not having ‘qualifying service’. However the misconception that employees have no right to a claim in the Employment Tribunal before 2 years service is incorrect; there are exceptions to the rule.
For example dismissal or unfair treatment due to discriminatory reasons is one of them. All employees are protected from discrimination, no matter how long they have been employed for.
From what has been reported, the main issues behind Joey’s absence seem to be the fact that he has been segregated from the rest of the first team and his peers. Joey was forced to train with the U20’s team, as well as being denied access to the first team car park. This would be a highly humiliating situation for anyone in similar circumstances as work.
To add to this, Mark Warburton, the Rangers manager has already admitted that the training ground argument in September involved two players, however Joey was the only person to receive any disciplinary sanctions. There have also been reports in the past of similar training ground incidents involving players that did not result in any suspensions or disciplinary procedures.
All employers must have clear disciplinary rules and procedures to deal with employee performance and conduct and the rules should be applied to all employees equally and consistently.
What are your thoughts on this story? Have you been affected by any of the points made? Leave us a comment below and tell us your thoughts.
This article was written by Callum Morton, an Employment and Stress At Work Paralegal at Michael Lewin Solicitors.