Work Related Stress Compensation Claims

Should you suffer ill-health as a result of unreasonable pressure at work it may be possible to pursue a claim for personal injury compensation.

Work related stress is a term which is used widely in a number of situations although most of these would not give rise to a valid compensation claim. This is because the Courts recognise that a certain amount of stress and pressure will inevitably arise in a variety of work place situations which is to a large degree beyond the control of an individual employer.

In the case of Hatton –v- Sutherland and others (2002) 2 ALL ER1, the Court of Appeal laid down broad guidelines identifying the factors which must normally be present to pursue a successful claim for compensation. These guidelines have been further defined and interpreted in subsequent case law although the basic principles remain unaltered.

For a claim to succeed the Court must be satisfied that there was a foreseeable risk of psychiatric injury arising from the work that you were required to undertake and that inappropriate or insufficient steps were taken to address this risk. Many factors will be taken into consideration when determining the question of foreseeability and the nature of the duties imposed upon the employer.

In reality a claim will only succeed if you can show that your employer was made specifically aware of the problems you were experiencing at work and in particular how this was affecting your health. Complaints about excessive hours, excessive workloads or lack of appropriate training will not be sufficient. Your employer must be made aware that the work is actually affecting your health. Should they then fail to take appropriate steps to address your workload or provide adequate training and resources they may negligent and you may be entitled to recover personal injury compensation for any further symptoms experienced.