Staffordshire, UK -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/04/2013 -- Without doubt some people thrive on workplace pressure, feeling motivated by the positive buzz it creates. However for many workers, particularly those with little or no control over their work environment, excessive pressure can lead to problems.
Flashpoints for workplace stress include:
- poor communication between managers and colleagues
- unreasonable deadlines
- inadequate planning and resourcing
- a mismatch of skills to the job in question
- going through a programme of reorganisation or redundancy
Employers have a duty under the health and safety legislation to prevent injury from work-related stress. The Working Time Regulations 1998 (‘WTR’) limit working hours to an average of 48 hours a week (although workers can opt out if they choose), it provides for paid leave a year (at present this is 5.6 weeks), 11 consecutive hours of rest in any 24 hour period, and a rest break of 20 minutes if the working day is longer than six hours.
If an organisation fails in its duty to take reasonable care to ensure the health and safety of its employees, then claims may result.
London employment lawyers Aeon Solicitors say:
“The UK has a long-hours culture, more so than elsewhere in Europe. The economy remains sluggish and with jobs at a premium, those who are in work are routinely undertaking unpaid overtime in order to retain their positions.
This presents a risk for employers. Millions of working days are lost to stress and depression. Faced with the prospect of staff taking prolonged sick leave or commencing legal action, we urge businesses to address matters up front.”
Employers should therefore adopt policies and procedures to help them identify problems, such as regular performance reviews (a two way process will enable employees to raise any concerns), being alert to absence due to stress and mental illness, and promoting the grievance procedure for bringing formal complaints.
Listening closely to employees’ grievances will help the business spot serious issues at an early stage. For instance a grievance may reveal that work-related stress has resulted from behaviour which amounts to a legal discrimination; the employer will be vicariously liable for this. If an employee is terminated because they have raised concerns about work-related injury, then they will be able to sue for unfair dismissal.
Aeon Solicitors are employment solicitors in London who advise businesses about workplace stress, the procedures that should be adopted having identified concerns, and the remedial action that is required.
About Aeon Solicitors
Aeon Solicitors are a niche law practice based in central London that specialise in employment law. The firm offers employment law advice to individuals and businesses.