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Work related stress, anxiety and depression is a huge problem for Britain’s workforce as shown by the latest results from the 2016 Labour Force Survey (LFS).
The survey has revealed a number of worrying trends suggesting that stress at work is now a major threat to the health of the nation, accounting for very nearly one half of working days lost due to illness. The results include the following statistics:-
- The total number of cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2015/16 was an astonishing 488,000
- The total number of working days lost due to stress in 2015/16 was 11.7 million days. This equated to an average of 23.9 days lost per reported case
- In 2015/16 stress accounted for 37% of all work related ill health cases
- In 2015/16 stress accounted for 45% of all working days lost due to ill health
- Stress is more prevalent in public service industries, such as education, health and social care, public administration and defence
- Jobs such as healthcare workers, teaching professionals, public service professionals and those in the business and the media show higher levels of stress as compared to other jobs
- The main factors cited as causing work related stress, depression or anxiety were workload pressures, including tight deadlines and too much responsibility and a lack of managerial support.
The growing problem of stress related illnesses linked to work has led to an increase in the number of people making stress at work compensation claims against their employers.
Employees are entitled to claim compensation for any work related injury or illness they suffer in circumstances where their employers have failed to exercise reasonable care to prevent a foreseeable injury or illness occurring.
Stress at work compensation claims are however notoriously difficult to prove and a summary of the legal hurdles that need to be overcome can be found here.
Employees often think they will be entitled to compensation in they suffer stress linked to their working life, but in reality the law is not as straightforward as that. The courts tend to be slow to hold an employer responsible for an employees mental health unless it can be shown that they were clearly responsible.
In particular an employee must establish not only that their condition has arisen (or been made materially worse) as a direct result of their job (rather than other social or personal factors) but also that their employers could and should have prevented it arising.
Judges have imposed a number of legal hurdles that a claimant must overcome for a stress at work compensation claim to succeed.
In simple terms a successful claimant will generally need to satisfy a court that:-
- They are suffering from a recognised psychiatric condition
- Their stress related illness was caused (or exacerbated) by their employment
- Their stress related illness was foreseeable
- Their employer could have taken steps that would have prevented the stress related illness arising
If the legal requirements can be met then compensation may be claimed for the psychological injury suffered along with financial losses such as lost earnings and the cost of medical treatment. Where the effect of the illness is long term and far reaching claims for future financial losses can be pursued, including future loss of earnings (or earning potential) and the impact on the employees pension pot as a result of reduced contributions.
Because of the complexity of the law it is vitally important for claimants to consult qualified lawyers who are experts in this field, such as our own Elizabeth Duncan, winner of the DASLS Legal Hero of the Year award for her stress at work successes.
So, if you think your case can satisfy these requirements and would like us to provide you with a free case assessment then simply complete our specially designed Work Related Stress Questionnaire and send it to us at [email protected]
We will assess the merits of your case free of charge and let you know whether we can deal with your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis.