Workplace Stress Joseph Batson T
Share via Email A report last week from the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development highlights that public sector workers are three times more likely to suffer with time off work for stress than private sector employees. This is against the background of other studies that have shown one in five of people in the UK suffers with work related stresswith half a million people reporting that they have become ill as a result.
The legal obligations of an employer So what exactly are the legal obligations of your employer in relation to stress at work? Well, there is no specific law aimed at workplace stress, but employers do have duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their staff.
In addition, employers have duties under common law non-statute to take reasonable steps to ensure your health and safety at work. Typical causes of work-related stress are an overload of work, bullying, lack of support and a bad working environment.
In some cases, your stress can be caused by outside influences such as bereavement, relationship issues or a disability.
A disability may be yours, or someone for whom you have caring responsibilities. Whatever the cause of your stress, you do need to bring the stress that you are under to the attention of your employer.
Unless it is obvious, your employer will otherwise be likely to raise a successful defence if they can show they were simply not aware of the stress you were under. Your legal right to make a stress claim You do have the right to make a legal claim for stress against your employer.
These are not easy claims to bring, but they do happen and many are successful. A claim would generally be either for personal injury or constructive dismissal.
A personal injury claim would arise from the duty of care that employers have to their staff and to provide a safe system of work. You would have to have suffered a recognised psychiatric illness, such as clinical depression, and you would have to show this was caused by stress at work and no outside factors.
You would also need to show that it was reasonably foreseeable by your employer that you would develop a mental illness and in turn this means as stated above that your employer will need to have been aware of your worsening condition. You should bear in mind, however, that an employer is usually entitled to assume that an employee can withstand the normal pressures that the job entails and is entitled to accept what he is told by an employee at face value unless there is good reasons to the contrary.
Many employees "contract out" of the Working Time Regulations and work in excess of 48 hours a week. This in itself is usually not enough to bring a claim against an employer for stress on the basis that such stress was reasonably foreseeable by that employer. An additional claim you can bring is for constructive dismissal based on your resignation.
You would have to show that your employer is in breach of the term implied into every contract of employment to provide a safe system of work, and which has also led to a breach of the further implied term of mutual trust and confidence between employer and employee.
The breach must be sufficiently serious for you to resign and you would normally be expected to lodge a grievance first.
If on the other hand your employer gets in first and dismisses you because you are stressed, you may have a claim for unfair dismissal. If your stress is caused by your disability, giving rise to a "protected characteristic" under the new Equality Act, then you have added protection.
In these circumstances, you may be able to make a claim for disability discrimination if your employer fails to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace aimed at alleviating your stress.
Practical steps you can take to resolve your stress at work The best way that you seek to resolve matters is to approach your line manger or HR. Do try and keep a written record of your concerns, including any emails.
This will be invaluable to refer back to if you need it at a later stage- otherwise your employer could deny any knowledge of your condition. When approaching your employer, examples of what you could ask would be: This may not be documented, so you can ask for this. Regular work meetings may help here.
Many line managers will want to pull out the stops to resolve matters prior to your lodging a formal grievance.
It is best that you do not take this particular step until you have first taken professional advice. What are my rights when I am off work for long term stress? Quite often, there is a contractual right to sick pay whereby the employer spells out what the employee is to receive when sick and over what period.
In the absence of a contractual provision, employees are entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay SSP from the employer.Stress in Today’s Workplace. The longer he waited, the more David worried.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Columbia Parkway Mention of any company name or product does not constitute endorsement by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Workplace Stress Numerous studies show that job stress is far and away the major source of stress for American adults and that it has escalated progressively over the past few decades.
Increased levels of job stress as assessed by the perception of having little control but lots of demands have been demonstrated to be associated with increased rates of heart attack, hypertension and other disorders.
The top method of managing high levels of stress at work for both men and women is to sleep more (44 percent total). Women and men manage job stress differently: Women are significantly more likely than men to eat more (46 percent vs. 27 percent) and talk to family and friends (44 percent vs.
21 percent) to manage job stress. Currently, he directs the Bio Behavioral Institute, a nonprofit research organization focused on stress and behavioral health, and is chairman and CEO of Boston-based Stress Directions Inc., which provides consulting services to employers.
Work-related stress doesn't just disappear when you head home for the day. When stress persists, it can take a toll on your health and well-being.
A stressful work environment can contribute to problems such as headache, stomachache, sleep disturbances, short temper and difficulty concentrating. Garrison, who teaches stress management programs, says that of all the stress-relieving techniques he suggests, his students report the most .