Stress Awareness Month Begins

Since 1992, Stress Awareness Month has been held every April. Its aim is to raise awareness of the negative impact ongoing stress can have on our wellbeing – both mentally and physically.

A lot has changed since the early 90s, and we’re faced with brand new stressors on a daily basis. Last year, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) warned of a “growing crisis in stress and poor mental health related to work”.

According to the HSE, stress is now one of the main causes of work-related ill health, along with depression and anxiety. In 2021/22 alone, there were around 914,000 cases reported of work-related stress, depression or anxiety.

Reporting stress at work

The HSE defines stress as “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them”. Examples of work-related scenarios that could cause stress include:

  • Difficulty in colleague relationships or bullying
  • Excessive workloads
  • Lack of information and support
  • Lack of understanding around role and responsibilities
  • Micromanagement

If you’ve been suffering from stress at work, it’s important that you let your line manager know of your concerns. This can feel daunting, but it could allow your manager to make necessary changes to help you.

We understand it may not always be possible to confide in your line manager, though. If it is their actions that are causing you to feel stressed, there are other people you can talk to. This may be your HR department or a trade union representative.

Your employer should have reporting policies and procedures in place, and these can usually be found on your intranet system. We would recommend reading through these first before taking any further action.

Can I sue my employer for stress at work?

Your employer has a duty of care towards you which means they should take all reasonable steps to ensure your wellbeing at work. And if you’ve reported work-related stress, your manager should put measures in place to help you. These could include:

  • Organising confidential counselling
  • Providing extra supervision or support
  • Re-allocating tasks
  • Reducing your work hours – either temporarily or permanently

If you’ve told your employer about the stress you’re experiencing but nothing has been done and you have suffered further harm, you may have a stress at work claim. You’ll need to prove that your employer was aware of the situation, and that their negligence led to your condition worsening.

This is where an experienced solicitor can help you. They will gather evidence to support your claim and demonstrate the impact that your employer’s actions have had on you. So you don’t need to worry about collecting all this information yourself.

How much can I claim for stress at work?

If you’re able to make a stress at work claim, and the outcome is successful, how much compensation you receive will depend largely on the circumstances surrounding your case.

For example, your solicitor will need to consider the severity of the stress you’ve endured and whether this has led to any further health problems such as:

  • A reduced or increased appetite
  • Excessive drinking, smoking or drug-taking
  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping

Your solicitor will also take into account any financial losses you’ve suffered such as lost earnings if you’ve had to take unpaid time off work. All of these factors will contribute towards the negotiation of your final settlement offer.

We understand that the thought of making a claim against your employer can be intimidating. But you don’t have to go through the process alone.

Our solicitors are experts in claims involving employer negligence. To find out how they could help you, get in touch with our friendly claim team for a free initial consultation.


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