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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50175
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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i have had work related stress and depression since 2006 can

Customer Question

i have had work related stress and depression since 2006
can i sue my employer due to being abscent 5 times since 2006
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 years ago.

Ben Jones : Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Are you still employed by them?
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Ben Jones :

Employers have certain duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act and under common law to take reasonable care to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their staff. This would also include preventing or reducing the causes of workplace stress.

Whilst employees that are subject to workplace stress can take formal action against their employer, this is not necessarily easy to do. There are two main claims that can be made: personal injury or constructive dismissal.

1. Personal Injury - the following requirements must be met:

  • The person must have suffered a recognised psychiatric illness, such as clinical depression.
  • The illness must have been caused by stress at work and no outside factors.
  • It must be shown that it was reasonably foreseeable by the employer that the employee would develop a mental illness (bearing in mind that an employer could assume an employee can withstand the normal pressures of working life)

2. Constructive dismissal - the following requirements must be met:

  • It must be shown that the employer is in breach of the implied term to provide a safe system of work, which has in turn led to a breach of the further implied term of mutual trust and confidence
  • The breach must be sufficiently serious to justify instant resignation
  • It is highly recommended to raise a grievance first to deal with this internally, with resignation only taking place in cases of continued breaches
  • This is only available to those with over 2 years' continuous service with their employer.

In the first instance, I would advise considering going down the grievance route first and only pursuing the formal claims above as a last resort.