Occupational stress—introduction
Occupational stress—introduction

The following PI & Clinical Negligence practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Occupational stress—introduction
  • ‘Traditional’ occupational stress claims
  • What constitutes occupational stress?
  • Claims under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997

See also Practice Note: Occupational stress—establishing liability

‘Traditional’ occupational stress claims

These are cases where the claimant has suffered a distinct psychiatric injury as a result of pressures or stresses experienced in the workplace. ‘Occupational stress’ is a label that reflects the background against which the psychiatric illness has developed: it is not an indication of any particular type of illness.

Any recognised psychiatric illness that has foreseeably developed as a result of stresses encountered in the workplace can, in principle, found an occupational stress claim. If the claimant is simply suffering from occupational stress (ie stress at work), and does not have a recognisable psychiatric injury, they will not have a claim of this kind. See Practice Note: Recognised psychiatric illness.

What constitutes occupational stress?

The Health and Safety Executive uses the term 'work-related stress' and defines it as the 'adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed upon them at work'. Individuals suffering from occupational stress will commonly become unable to cope with the tasks, responsibilities and pressures connected with their job, which can lead to them suffering a psychological injury with symptoms including depression, anxiety, insomnia and tiredness. Where the pressures are intense and prolonged, employees can often suffer from serious psychological conditions such as clinical depression and post-traumatic stress disorder as well as physical injuries. Occupational stress often manifests itse

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