How to prepare claim for work related stressPrior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.We prefer to front load our investigations so that we can assess cases as accurately and quickly as possible. We ask all of our new clients to complete a ‘Case assessment and compensation assessment.’ This questionnaire allows us to obtain a brief but focussed overview of your claim. We may also follow this up with a brief telephone call if we need to obtain further information. We will use this initial information as the skeleton for our own analysis and we will also ask you to provide supporting evidence where possible.We also like clients to prepare a timeline of key events focussing on the main incidents, particularly those that affected thier mental health or triggered an absence from work.
Preserve and Collate supportive evidence.Please see our blog on ‘How to prove Stress at Work’ for the type of evidence you should be obtaining.
Remember limitation.As a general rule you only get three years from the date you first became unwell and linked that illness to work, to being a claim for personal injury.
Venue.It is not uncommon for clients to have claims that could be brought as work related stress claims in a county court as well as a claim that can only be brought in the employment tribunal, such as discrimination or unfair dismissal claims.It is important that you instruct a solicitor who can advise you on all legal options available as once you elect a venue it is very difficult and to remedy any mistakes made.
Case AnalysisDavid Miers and Maria Gough were instructed by our client to pursue a harassment claim against her former employer.Our client worked as a Team Leader at a school. In 2018 a new Principal was appointed. Within a few months of the new Principal starting he began to behave inappropriately towards our client.For example he would made comments about her body and appearance, ask for details of her sex life and indicate graphically that he found our client sexually attractive. All of this was done in a school context with students in the next room. Our client found this behaviour to be distressing and intimidating and despite asking him to stop his lewd comments he continued to harass our client unabated.By 2020 our client was unable to cope with the impact of the Principal’s daily harassment of her. She was signed off sick by her GP and later resigned from her role.Our client subsequently submitted a grievance about the treatment she experienced. The internal findings upheld that she had been harassed by the Principal.
Our client subsequently obtained new employment but the corresponding salary was significantly below what she had previously been earning.
How Setfords helpedSetfords were instructed in April 2020 for pursue a claim for harassment and consequential losses. Our client’s evidence was considered and the merits of her claim were clear from the outset. A letter of claim was then submitted to her former employer.Our client’s claim was considered by the insurer for the School. The claim was denied and it was not accepted that our client had been harassed, despite the internal findings.Setfords remained committed to the merits of our client’s claim and accordingly medical evidence was obtained from a Consultant Psychiatrist. The report was supportive and stated that our client had suffered a psychiatric injury as a result of the harassment by the School Principal. Despite liability being denied Setfords were able to secure the client a settlement of £40,000 without her having to go to Court.
Case AnalysisDavid Miers was instructed by a former teacher to pursue a claim for occupational stress as a result of being overworked. Our client was an experienced teacher who was faced with excessive demands from the Senior Leadership Team which resulted in him having to work above and beyond his contractual hours without adequate support.Our client had an initial absence from work in 2015 as a result of his unmanageable workload. However upon his return to work no changes were made.In 2017/2018 our client’s school was subject to intervention from the Local Education Authority and the demands of the intervention team added pressure on top of our client’s existing workload.In 2019 our client spoke with the Headteacher to advise that he was struggling with the pressure and workload. He expressly advised that as a result of which he was worried for his physical and mental health. Despite this, no action was taken by the Headteacher to support our client.
Our client went off sick in the 2018and subsequently was not well enough to return to his role. His employment was terminated the following year and he has now retrained.
How Setfords helpedSetfords were instructed in November 2019 for pursue a claim for occupational stress and consequential losses. Our client’s evidence was considered and the merits of his claim were clear from the outset. A letter of claim was then submitted to his former employer.The employer’s letter of response denied liability for our client’s breakdown and stated that our client was not suited for the demands of teaching, accordingly no fault could rest with the employer.Setfords remained committed to the merits of our client’s claim and accordingly medical evidence was obtained from a Consultant Psychiatrist and Court proceedings then issued. The Defendant’s defence continued in the same vein as the letter of response but ultimately the Defendant agreed to settle the claim for a six figure sum.This is what he had to say about Setfords:“I would like to thank the team at Setfords for all of their hard work and support whilst dealing with my claim. We have just reached a successful outcome which we could never have achieved without them. Particular thanks to David Miers, who has been thorough, clear, honest and professional throughout the entire process. I would recommend this company without a moment’s hesitation. Sincere thanks to all involved.”