How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Ben Jones Your Own Question

Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44401
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
Ben Jones is online now

I was recently off work with anxiety and depression. I told

Resolved Question:

Hi, I was recently off work with anxiety and depression. I told my employer that this was brought on by work related stress. They have not acknowledged my emails about my condition. I have been back at work for about a month and there has been no contact about my time off or any changes to my workload. Are they in breach of their duty of care ?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 3 months ago.

How long have you worked there?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Just under 2 years, I started 15th September, 2014
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

Hello I am an employment lawyer and have been asked to look at this. I will get my response ready and reply on here later today thanks

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

Thanks for your patience. Whilst stress in the workplace is becoming an ever-increasing problem, no specific legislation deals with it. The rights of employees in these circumstances are scattered across various legislation and common law examples.

A good starting point is to look at The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and related statutory instruments, which impose a general duty on employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees. This includes a duty to undertake risk assessments and manage activities to reduce the incidence of stress at work. In addition, under common law an employer owes a duty of care towards its employees, the breach of which can amount to negligence.

As no standalone claim exists for being exposed to stress, the affected employee has the following options open to them if they were going to challenge their employer over this:

1. Grievance - this is a formal internal complaint, following which the employer is obliged to investigate the issues and deal with them in an appropriate manner. It should always be the first step in trying to bring the problem to the employer's attention and to try and reach a resolution.

2. Constructive dismissal - this occurs where the employee resigns because they feel they were left with no other option in the circumstances. Further considerations include:
• It must be shown that the employer had acted in breach of the implied terms to provide a safe system of work or through their actions (or inactions) had broken the mutual trust and confidence
• The breach relied on must be sufficiently serious to justify instant resignation
• This claim is only available to those with at least 2 years' continuous service with their employer and must be made within 3 months of resigning so not something you can do here. However, the is the potential to claim disability discrimination as that does not require any minimum service.

3. Personal Injury - this is a claim for negligence against the employer. Further considerations include:
• Some recognised illness must have been suffered. This could include clinical depression, specific trauma stress, a physical injury (e.g. stroke), etc.
• The illness must have been caused directly by the employer's negligence, such as failing to appropriately deal with managing stress in the workplace
• The illness must have been reasonably foreseeable - for example if the employee experienced one breakdown, that would have indicated to the employer that there is a problem and that further issues could arise if things were not dealt with appropriately.
• The time limit to claim is 3 years from the time the injury was suffered.

In the first instance, I would advise going down the grievance route first and only consider pursuing legal action as a last resort if it is evident that the matter cannot be resolved in any other way.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you need to follow if you want to take it down the legal route, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44401
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and 3 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

Hi Jason, in the legal sense of the word, disability can have a broad meaning and there is no single list of medical conditions that qualify. Instead, to establish whether a person is disabled, they need to show that they meet the legal definition of a ‘disability’.

The Equality Act 2010 defines a disability as a “physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.

I will break this definition down:

  • Physical or mental impairment – this can include nearly any medical condition;
  • Substantial effect – the effect must be more than minor or trivial;
  • Long-term - the effect of the impairment must either have lasted or be likely to last for at least 12 months;
  • Normal day-to-day activities – these could include anything considered ‘normal’ in a person's normal daily routine (e.g. walking, driving, speaking, eating, washing, etc.)

If a person satisfies the above criteria, they will be classified as being disabled and will have automatic protection against discrimination, which means that they must not be treated unfavourably because of their disability. In addition, their employer would have a duty to make reasonable adjustments if they are likely to be placed at a substantial disadvantage when compared to non-disabled employees.

What amounts to ‘reasonable adjustments’ can have a wide interpretation and often depends on the individual circumstances. Below are some examples:

  • making adjustments to work premises;
  • allocating some of the employee’s duties to others;
  • transferring the employee to fill an existing suitable vacancy;
  • altering the employee’s hours of work;
  • allowing the employee to be absent during working hours for rehabilitation, assessment or treatment connected to their disability;
  • acquiring or modifying specialist equipment;
  • providing supervision or other support.

What Customers are Saying:

  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
< Previous | Next >
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
  • A quick response, a succinct and helpful answer in simple English. I believe I can now confront the counter party with confidence -- worth the 30 bucks! Rick
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther

Meet The Experts:

  • Ben Jones

    Ben Jones

    UK Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
< Last | Next >
  • Ben Jones's Avatar

    Ben Jones

    UK Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
  • Kasare's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
  • Joshua's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
  • taratill's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    15 years experience of advising on employment law matters
  • Alice H's Avatar

    Alice H

    Solicitor Advocate

    Satisfied Customers:

    Partner in national law firm with 20+ years legal experience
  • /img/opt/shirt.png tdlawyer's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    Lawyer with 9 years experience in employment related issues.

Related Employment Law Questions