Stress

Depression after withdrawal of office wasn’t reasonably foreseeable

While the employer breached the employee’s contract by withdrawing his post without investigation or allowing him to respond to allegations against him, the employee’s subsequent stress-induced depressive illness was not reasonably foreseeable such so as to make the employer liable in damages for personal injury.
Yapp v Foreign and Commonwealth Office
 

HR manager loses stress claim

A former HR manager who sued her employer for £1.25m after developing chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) had had her personal injury claim for work-related stress dismissed by the High Court. Given the strength of the medical evidence, there was no proven causal link between stress and CFS. Additionally, her employer was not at fault because it could not have foreseen that her work placed her at risk of injury to her health.

MacLennan v Hartford Europe Ltd
 

Novel attempt to establish liability for work-induced stress fails

A breach of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 could not, of itself, entitle an employee to compensation for a psychiatric illness. There has to be foreseeability on the part of the employer in respect of the illness suffered by the employee. Employers are entitled to assume that an employee can withstand the normal pressures of the job unless they know of a particular vulnerability.
Mullen v Accenture Services Ltd
 

Importance of properly drafted medical questionnaire

The High Court has rejected an employer’s claim that a senior employee, in failing to disclose her history of stress and depression in a pre-employment medical questionnaire, had made a fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation.

Cheltenham Borough Council v Laird
 

Employer’s failure to act led to employee’s illness

The Court of Appeal upheld a county court decision to award damages for psychiatric injury due to excessive work-related stress. D worked in a job which she found very stressful. She asked to be moved to a less demanding role but as there were no immediate vacancies she was asked to wait 3 months.

Dickins v o2
 

Excessive working hours led to reasonably foreseeable psychiatric injury

An employee’s psychiatric injury was reasonably foreseeable and, as the employer had taken no steps to prevent the injury, it was liable to the employee in the tort of negligence.

Hone v Six Continents Retail Ltd
 
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