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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Two years ago I was off work months with stress caused

Resolved Question:

Two years ago I was off work for 3 months with stress caused by the people and area in which I worked. When I eventually returned to work my Manager was very understanding and I was moved to a different area and for over 12 months have thoroughly enjoyed my job.
I am now off again.There is a new management team. The area in which I work is very short staffed and with a number of people on long term sick, some also with stress, I have been doing the work at times of three people. I work for the NHS in my local hospital, in the Childrens Outpatient area which I love. I am very aware of the pressures parents are under which often reflects in their attitude and responses to us - the staff. I care very much for the patients and their parents and my prime intention is always to deliver a smiley and friendly,efficient service.
This has been very difficult to do with the pressures being put on us by management to meet targets, carry out all tasks efficiently and quickly, and not enough staff. No amount of comment about not enough staff has been acted on and now that I am off again with stress I dont know how to deal with the situation correctly.
I am having an 'informal' meeting today with my two immediate bosses and I would like to know how I deal with this.
I know I can take someone with me but I have said no to this at the moment. I am not a trouble maker: I just want to be able to get on with my job and do it to my satisfaction.
Sorry,I should have said at the start - I am receptionist/admin. assistant.
Thank you for your help
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Who initiated the meeting - you or the employer?

Customer:

The employer

Ben Jones :

What would your ideal outcome be in this situation?

Customer:

I wish to continue to work in this department. I love my job but there need to be more staff for me to be able to do my job without getting stressed.

Customer:

The area in which I work can be a very emotional area as we are dealing with worried parents and poorly children. I do not fine this work stressful in the least altho some people might. I love the work and love seeing parents relax and little ones get the attention they need.

Ben Jones :

ok thanks let me get my response ready please

Ben Jones :

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.

I know that you are not looking at making any claim against the employer, at least not yet anyway, so I will not discuss the options of claiming unless you want me to. However, the above is the argument you need to raise with them in relation to the current situation and remind them that they have a duty to keep stress levels at minimum. If needed you also have the option of raising a formal grievance with the employer which is an internal complaint used to raise any concerns you have about the situation.

Customer:

Do I state today if I wish to raise a formal grievance or should I see occupational health first and then would they take up the grievance?

Ben Jones : No immediate rush to raise it but don't delay it - you may wish to see OH first and see what they say they recommend in terms of what you can or should be doing then if the employer does not facilitate that - go down the grievance route
Customer:

Thank you Ben for your help. I feel a lot calmer now and will follow your advice. I will attend my meeting today and then speak with OH if I need to.

Customer:

The meeting I have to attend has been called forward so I have to go. Thank you for your help.

Ben Jones : you are welcome, best of luck
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