Support Hub > Stress Claims > How to prove stress at work
How to prove stress at work
Stress at work claims are often complex claims which require careful handling by an experienced solicitor. They are often fact heavy and it is not uncommon for defendant employers to present a completely different set of facts as part of any defence.
As with most civil cases prospects of success will be determined on which set of facts a Judge prefers on the balance of probabilities and so it is vitally important that evidence is both preserved and collated to help prove stress at work claims.
1. Raise a Grievance
We would advise our clients to submit a grievance in the first instance wherever possible. It may be that a well reasoned grievance outcome with appropriate recommendations is all that is needed to address the issues at hand and negate the need to issue a claim. Grievance investigations are however helpful no matter the result as it helps to crystallise the facts but some other important points are as follows:
- It shows you have been reasonable and taken informal steps to address a complaint without rushing to litigation.
- Any admissions by the defendant employer within a grievance outcome can be used to frame the allegations of negligence in subsequent litigation.
- Even if your grievance is not upheld, the outcome will inform your solicitor about how a claim might be defendant should one be brought which can give you a tactical edge.
2. Statement from colleagues
If for example you are pursuing a claim for bullying at work then you could approach your colleagues to see if they would be prepared to provide a supportive witness statement. This could include their comments on any bullying they have witnessed or experienced themselves. In this case, the quantity and quality of supportive witnesses can often increase the prospects of your claim.
One of the key elements of proving a stress claim is to prove that your employer was aware, or ought to have been aware, that you were becoming unwell. If you have not had any previous stress related absences then you will often need some other evidence to prove that injuries occasioned by stress were foreseeable. This could be a contemporaneous email or document where you set out the impact of work on your health and what assistance you needed. Anything which put your employer on notice of impending harm to your health will be very important.
Are there any documents which will support your claim? For example if you are pursuing a claim for overwork then usually the key part of your claim will proving how much work you had to do and the number of extra hours you have worked. This can be supported by call logs, attendance logs or emails which show you have been working earlier or later than normal or working at weekends etc. Again the more evidence you have the greater your chance to objectively show that you have been overworked.
5. GP records
Whilst any claim would need to be supported with a court compliant medical report it is helpful at the outset of your claim to obtain copies of GP and counselling records to assist your solicitor to understand the likely cause of you injuries and, if applicable, your mental health history.