The recent three-part drama, Sticks and Stones, focuses on the destructive effects of workplace bullying. The drama centres on both the personal and professional life of Thomas Benson who finds himself trying to secure new clients. When this doesn’t go to plan, the result is monumental and Thomas goes to increasingly desperate lengths to remain successful — resulting in Thomas feeling undermined, under attack and out of control.
The reaction to the program has been quite substantial with viewers sharing their stories on Twitter. One particular viewer shared that:
“[Sticks and Stones] is a very real depiction of workplace bullying and how the victim is almost always blamed. As an employment law specialist and survivor of being bullied myself – it’s like watching real-life play out. Time for change.”
The reality is that stress is now the most significant source of work-related illness, accounting for 44% of all cases. The figures speak for themselves, with a total of 595,000 workers suffered from work-related stress last year, which resulted in 15.4 million working days lost. Figures also suggest that 29% of people have been victims of workplace bullying, equating to 9.1 million people within the UK workforce.
It is a common misconception that you are unable to claim compensation from your employer if you have been bullied at work. Generally, claims for work-place bullying fall into three categories:
- Common-Law Bullying
You must tell your manager or HR if you feel you are becoming ill through work-related stress; please do not suffer in silence. Excluding certain harassment cases, the law says that for the employer’s duty of care to prevent psychiatric harm to its employees, such harm needs to be foreseeable. Speaking up, therefore, has two benefits:
- It will allow the employer to do something positive to alleviate the employees stress to prevent illness.
- It puts the employer on notice of the decline in the employee’s health to engage its duty of care to prevent such illness. If the employer then breaches that duty of care and illness follows as a result, a claim for compensation may be viable.
- The law states that every employer must make an appropriate and substantial assessment of all the risks to the health and safety of its employees whilst they are at work.
*Please note that these guides are for informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice. You can contact one of our expert consultant lawyers using the form below.*
David is an occupational stress and psychiatric injury specialist.
David is one of the few specialists in the country whose practice is solely made up of work related stress claims. His expertise covers:
- Stress at work claims
- Bullying & harassment claims
- Violence at work claims
- Sexual harassment