What are my legal rights if I'm stressed at work?

If your working conditions are intolerable, your options include:

  • making a claim for constructive dismissal. It is important to appreciate that this kind of claim is very risky and there are lots of reasons why it is difficult to win.
  • making a personal injury claim against your employer. You need evidence of injury or illness, and must be able to demonstrate that it was caused by your employer's neglect, with foreseeable consequences. With stress cases, you must also be able to show you suffered from a clinically recognised psychological injury, e.g. depression. Remember that each case is different and depends on its own facts.

There have been some well-publicised cases, with large payouts, but do not assume that all awards are easily won, or very large.

If you suffer from a disability and your employer fails to make 'reasonable adjustments' to help you return to work after an absence, you may also be able to take action for disability discrimination, under the Equality Act 2010.

Speak to your union rep or a solicitor about making a claim against your employer. See our section on Personal Injury Claims.

There are strict time limits for all legal claims. Time limits in the employment tribunal are very short. Make sure you take legal advice as soon as possible.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.

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