Summary of the law on stress at work

Topic Selected: Stress

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What do workers have to prove?

In a stress case, workers first have to prove that they have a psychiatric illness (the injury). Then they have to show:

  • That their employer breached their duty of care.
  • That their working environment posed a real risk of causing the illness and the employer knew (or ought to have known) that they were exposed to that risk. Workers then have to prove that their employer knew that the difficulties they faced were so severe as to create a risk of an imminent psychiatric illness. In order to prove this ‘foreseeability’, claimants often have to produce a report from a doctor or prove that they have been off work before due to a similar illness.
  • That their employer failed in their duty of care towards them. This involves showing that the employer did not do everything that was reasonable in the circumstances to keep the worker safe from harm. This includes the court looking at how the employer dealt w

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