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Work Related Stress – Stress Awareness Week

9 April 2018

Work Related Stress

Work Related Stress Claims

April 2018 is National Stress Awareness week and here at Poole Alcock, our Personal Injury team often find themselves helping people who are or have experienced stress at work. Work related stress is one of the main causes of why people take a leave of absence from work.

Occupational stress is a psychological injury, however it can manifest with physical symptoms as well.

In order to have a potential claim for compensation, there must be a clinical diagnosis of a psychological injury. This differs from suffering general stress or anxiety which most people will experience at some point in their working life.

Reasonable Workloads

From a legal perspective, once this is established, we would need to prove the stress was foreseeable by the employer. Should the employer have known that putting extra work upon you would result in you suffering from occupational stress?

Again, stress levels can fluctuate in any type of job, so we would need to show something over and above what would be considered to be ‘reasonable’ workloads.

To help us to evidence this foreseeability of knowledge by your employer, we would need to see a history of emails or letters from you to your employer, putting them on notice that you were struggling with the increase in workload and/or a notification that you were experiencing symptoms of stress.

Have you been referred to Occupational Health to address these symptoms? If so, please make sure that you take your employer up on any offer of assistance. Not only will this potentially help you resolve your situation, failure to do so will help your employer show that they tried to help you but that you chose not to co-operate. This will impact negatively upon your claim.

The legal test is the same for everyone, regardless of the type of work that you do.

What evidence will I need?

These claims are notoriously difficult to prove because stress levels can be increased due to a number of reasons. The Defendant will want to know about your personal and social life leading up to you taking your leave of absence. Were you going through a particularly stressful time outside of work? If so, your employer will have a good defence in arguing that there was a different cause of your stress.

The Defendant will also want to know about your medical history. Have you ever been diagnosed with stress or any other psychological injury in the past? This may predispose you to suffering stress again and if your employer is not made aware of this, they will argue that they cannot be responsible for you suffering stress at work.

As highlighted above, these claims are not straight forward, however they can be successful and we have had successful outcomes for Clients here at Poole Alcock. The main point to be aware of is that evidence that your employer was put on notice is key.

If, after reading the above, you believe that your employer has acted negligently, then please give us a call. We are more than happy to have an initial conversation about stress at work claims. Please feel free to contact our Personal injury team on 01270 762 325

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