What is the law on stress?

There is no specific law against stress at work. The main duties of employers to tackle work-related stress include:

  • your employer's general duty to provide a safe place of work, safe systems of work, and safe people to work with (Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAWA)). This duty covers both your physical and mental health;
  • your employer's duty to undertake risk assessments and to take action to eliminate or reduce risks, including stress risks (Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999);
  • complying with the Equality Act 2010. This gives you protection if you have a 'disability' as long as it falls within the definition of disability in the Act. If you have a disability, your employers must make 'reasonable adjustments' to your working conditions (See workSMART's Disability Rights section for more information.); and
  • your employer's duty under the law of negligence to take reasonable care not to cause you personal injury (psychiatric harm). (See our section on Personal Injury Claims.)
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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