Learning Points for Approaching Stress-at-work
Employment Law specialists provide key points of consideration when dealing with Stress-at-work.
- It is likely that stress will only amount to a disability under the Equality Act 2010 if it can be described as a ‘mental illness’ or ‘clinical depression’, and medical evidence should be obtained to ascertain whether the reason for the employee’s absence is likely to fall within the definition of disability within the act.
- While work-related stress alone is unlikely to amount to a disability, emphasis should be placed on the prognosis rather than the diagnosis and medical evidence should be obtained detailing whether there is any adverse effect on the employee’s general wellbeing.
- Ensure medical evidence or an occupational health report is obtained before taking any action for either misconduct or capability (for example, absences) where you suspect there may be disability considerations.
- If any concerns are raised by an employee, including concerns about workload, employers should react appropriately and not disregard any requests for reasonable adjustments without giving such a request proper consideration.
- If there is new management, ensure there is continuity in place for disabled employees. New managers should be alerted to both the nature of a disability and any reasonable adjustments in place as a result of that disability.
- If new evidence comes to light when taking action against an employee, ensure that evidence, along with any other evidence available, is taken into account before making a decision (particularly if new evidence comes to light when a matter is being appealed).
- In cases of long-term absence where employers are considering dismissing the employee on grounds of capability, employers must justify their reasons for dismissal and should document any considered alternatives.
If you have questions about dealing with stress-at-work please contact a member of our specialist Employment Law team team on 01382 229111.