If you suffer from stress at work
you have a number of options some of which will require the
co-operation of your employer.
If you want to remain in your job, and it is practical to do so, you
can try and solve the problem by informal discussion
with your line-manager or by submitting a formal
grievance. Your employer should have a grievance
procedure. You may wish to contact your local
health board for a list of agencies providing counselling
If the matter remains unresolved you may wish to consider a claim
against your employer for damage to health. In these
circumstances, you may have already considered resigning and claiming constructive
dismissal (whereby your employer has left you with no
other option) if you are considering this option you should obtain
advice first from your local law centre or other employment law solicitor.
Employers have a common law duty of
care for their employees physical and psychological health.
An employer should provide a safe system of work, safe means of
access, plant and equipment, competent and safe employees, and should
protect you against unnecessary risk of injury. These duties are
implied into your contract of employment as a matter of law.
The Scottish courts have held that an employer/employee duty of care
exists even if no physical injury has occurred (Brown v-
Glasgow Corporation 1922 SC 527). In the case of Page v- Smith
(1995 IRLR 536), the House of Lords held that there was no general
justification for regarding physical and psychiatric injuries as
different types of injuries in negligence cases.
In order to succeed in a stress at work claim it is necessary to show
(a) evidence of genuine psychological damage;
(b) a causative connection or
link between the stress at work and illness;
and (c) that
the illness was reasonably foreseeable by the employer.
Time limits The Prescription
and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973, as amended, provides that a personal
(including stress related claims) must be raised, in court, within
three years of the date upon which the injury became known to the employee.
If you suffer from stress at work and need help you can contact
your local law centre or a firm of solicitors, who practice in the
field of employment law, for further information and assistance.