Claiming compensation for injury caused by bullying at work
Most of us have finished an eight hour shift and exhaustedly declared it a ‘stressful day’. When the majority of us say that, however, it usually extends to no more than the photocopier breaking down, not being able to send an email, or the vending machine keeping your change.
While most of us agree that working in a rewarding job you enjoy promotes self-esteem and good health (as well as paying the rent), sometimes employer standards can slip. And when you don’t get the support, communication, motivation or resources you need, it can result in an unpleasant mental and physical burden.
When the expected performance of a job far exceeds the person’s capability to reasonably perform their duties, it can lead to serious worry and illness. Similarly, bullying or harassment at work can be intimidating and stressful and can seriously affect your health and mental well-being.
And if you’re suffering or have suffered from stress as a result of your employer creating such situations and conditions, then you may be able to make a claim for compensation.
Stressful work situations can arise from staff being put under considerable strain because of poor planning, inadequate facilities or resources, or general managerial incompetence.
You might, for example, be assigned to a task or project beset by problems. If the issues aren’t identified by management and you don’t get the support and resources you need, it can place you under enormous pressure. Eventually you’ll become so stressed you’ll become unwell and need to be signed off work.
In extreme cases, you might not be able to return to work at all. If that’s the case, you may have a strong case to make a claim for compensation.
You will, however, find there are certain criteria in place and things you’ll need to prove.
For example, you’ll need to show you’ve suffered a psychiatric or physical injury and that it was related to the stress you suffered. You’ll also need to prove that the stress and suffering was foreseeable and that your employers have breached their duty of care and could have been more pro-active in eliminating the threat of putting your health at risk.
Bullying and Harassment
One of the most common sources of stress in the workplace is the result of harassment or bullying. However, it’s critical to understand that the terms bullying and harassment have very specific and different legal definitions, and this will affect whether you can make a successful claim.
How is Bullying and Harassment Defined by Law?
One of the definitions of bullying in the workplace is behaviour that’s insulting, offensive or intimidating, or an abuse or misuse of power by people in authority intended to humiliate, undermine, degrade or injure you.
There’s currently no anti-bullying law in force in the UK. Nevertheless, there are other components of the law that protect you, and your employer can usually be held legally responsible for any ill effects of bullying you suffer.
To make a claim for bullying at work, you need to show:
– You suffered a physical or psychiatric injury
– The actions of the perpetrator resulted in harassment or bullying
– The perpetrator knew – or at least should have known – their actions would have caused you upset or injury
– The perpetrator could have avoided stress, upset or injury if they had exercised reasonable care
Harassment’s definition usually refers to conduct, comments or action that can equally degrade, humiliate or injure you. It’s based on what’s known as the ‘protected characteristics’ of race, colour, national or ethnic origin, religious belief, sex, marital status, age, disability or sexual orientation.
The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 defines the term as ‘conduct which causes alarm or distress’ and which excludes conduct that results in the harassment of another.
To make a claim for harassment in the workplace, you’ll need to prove:
– There were at least two occasions of harassment by the perpetrator
– The perpetrator knew their actions constituted harassment
– The harassment happening during your course of employment
Although they have a legitimate case to make, lots of people feel uncomfortable about lodging a personal injury claim against their employer. They feel they might be viewed in a negative light, treated differently, and perhaps even made redundant – but that’s still no reason not to make a claim for compensation if you truly feel your employers or someone you work with has been unjust.
There’s no doubt that making a claim is a traumatic experience, but we’ve got a highly experienced team of solicitors who have successfully dealt with numerous bullying at work cases.
Call us today for a free, no-obligation assessment on 0333 888 0408, or email us at email@example.com