We can all feel the pressure of work-related stress at some point and every job has its stressful moments, but if short-term situations start to become on-going issues, this can severely affect both your physical and emotional health.
Michael Lewin Solicitors are experts in Stress at Work claims, which include bullying, sexual harassment, unfair treatment and assaults as well as excessive workload. Our large team of expert solicitors are one of the only dedicated teams specialising in Stress At Work claims in the UK, so you can be assured that you will be in good hands throughout the process.
- No Win, No Fee Available
- Dedicated and highly skilled Stress At Work specialists
- Sensitive and impartial advice.
- High success rates for clients.
- Experts in winning compensation for you.
Any type of stress can take a huge emotional toll on you, and stress at work does not always mean you’re dealing with excessive workload. Stress can manifest itself in many different ways such as bullying, harassment or sexual assault and as a victim, we know that you’ll find it hard to cope with work and the perpetrator(s) of your harassment, which is why the dedicated team here will work with you to help you.
Your employer has a legal responsibility for your health and safety whilst at work, this also includes ensuring that you are free from threat, harm and abuse. If they have allowed any form of bullying or harassment to take place then they are legally responsible to pay you compensation for any treatment that you require and loss of earnings.
The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 states that individuals must not pursue any conduct that amounts to harassment of another person that they know or ought to know amounts to harassment.
This bullying and harassment can take many different forms, it isn’t always verbal or physical, it can include: face-to-face interactions, email, social media, telephone calls or texts messages etc.
And can also include behaviour such as:
- Being denied opportunities
- Regularly undermining you (even though you are doing your job well)
- Unfair treatment
- Starting, or spreading rumours about you etc
I have been the victim of bullying and harassment
- Try to address the problem informally at work before seeking a legal route.
- Talk to your manager or human resources team about the issue and see if they can resolve it for you.
- If the informal route doesn’t work, then consider filing a formal grievance with your employer.
- If none of the above works, then talk to us.
More more information and advice on Stress at Work, take a look at the following pages:
Never suffer in silence, always seek help and guidance from those around you.
We strongly believe that nationally there is insufficient support or understanding for individuals suffering with psychiatric injury and we are therefore at the forefront of encouraging a change in perception towards mental ill health.
We can even put you in touch with counsellors that are specifically trained to provide you with the very best support (just let us know if you would like some contacts from us).
Your Employer’s Responsibility
If an employee has a condition such as depression or anxiety, employers have a legal responsibility to make reasonable adjustments in order to accommodate them and help where possible. These adjustments are required if the condition started during or employment or even if the employee had them before joining the company. Reasonable adjustments could include extra support, confidential counselling sessions and introducing flexi-time or allowing employees to work from home occasionally (if this is possible).
- Implement a Stress At Work policy, making it clear to all employees and managers that stress is a serious issue. The policy should include advice and guidance on how to handle stress and nominate people within the company that employees can turn to in times of need.
- Train managers to identify the symptoms of stress at work and the likely causes in the workplace.
- Encourage employees to talk to someone if they’re feeling overwhelmed or have a serious issue.
- Use surveys, performance appraisals and return to work interviews in order to identify if stress is causing poor performance.
- Implement an anti-bullying and harassment policy, to make it clear that bullying will not be tolerated and that it is the major cause for many stress related illnesses.
Workplace Stress – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
How do I know if I have got a claim for compensation for stress at work?
In order to win a workplace stress claim you must prove that your employer has breached their duty of care and caused you to suffer a recognised psychological injury. We will try to help you with this aspect.
There are various common law and statutory regulations which place an employer under a duty to protect their employees from the risk of suffering psychological illness as a result of their employment.
It must also be proven that you have suffered an injury as a result of the employers’ negligence and/or breach of statutory duty. Medical evidence will be required to support this allegation.
What damages will I recover?
In any claim for workplace stress, it is possible to seek to recover damages for all injuries and losses incurred as a result of an injury caused during the course of your employment.
These damages may include, but not limited to:
- Personal Injury
- Care and Assistance
- Treatment Costs
- Past and Future Loss of Earnings
- Loss of opportunity on the open labour market (Smith v Manchester award)
- Loss of Pension
- Travel Costs
- Loss of Bonus
If you have a claim for stress, you will receive 65% of the compensation we obtain on your behalf.
WIs a stress claim different to an Employment claim?
Yes. Stress claims and employment tribunal claims are two distinct areas of law and there are very different evidential burdens in each type of case.
A claim for stress is a claim for personal injury and all associated losses which is pursued in the County Court or High Court. Employment claims are pursued in the Employment Tribunal.
Damages in personal injury claims are based on your injuries together with all treatment costs, past and future loss of earnings and all other losses.
Whereas damages awarded in an employment tribunal are based on the type of employment claim you may have. Please see our employment legal services for further advice in this regard.
Can I pursue both a Workplace Stress claim and an Employment Claim?
There is a significant overlap between workplace stress claims and employment claims – in some cases you can pursue both an employment claim and a stress claim simultaneously although this can create difficulties.
If you believe that you have been subjected to discrimination then you may have to choose either to pursue a stress or an employment claim (as the employment tribunal can award damages for personal injuries in discrimination cases).
Our expert advisors can advise you which route may be better for you to pursue according to the issues in your particular case.
Can I still make a claim if my illness was some time ago?
If you are 18 years old or over, you are entitled to make a claim provided you do so within three years of the date that you realised you have suffered an injury as a result of stress whilst at work.
If your claim for personal injuries arises out of acts of harassment contrary to the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 then you are able to pursue a claim up to six years after the actions which amounted to harassment.
The date by which you must pursue compensation for personal injuries in claims for stress is extremely complicated and our expert advisors would be willing to advise you on a case by case basis.
However due to the complex nature of stress claims, we highly recommend that you seek expert legal advice at the earliest possible opportunity.
Workplace Stress – Useful Resources
Below is a useful list of charities and resources that can give you advice on dealing with stress related illness.
http://www.iapt.nhs.uk/services/ – NHS Services for Depression and Anxiety
http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/ – Health and Safety Executive – Workplace Stress – Together we can Tackle it
http://www.ticcs.co.uk/ – The Injury Care Clinics
http://www.rethink.org/ – Mental Health Charity Rethink
http://www.depressionalliance.org/ – Mental Health Charity Depression Alliance
http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/ – Mental Health Foundation
Contact Us Today
If you think you might have a compensation claim, but you’re not too sure, or just not sure what you should do next, then get in touch with us. We can help you make sense of the whole situation you are in and suggest the best way forward for you – free of charge.