1 in 5 people suffer from some form of mental illness so an employer must be vigilant in discharging its duty of care for the mental health of its employees.
In the employment and personal injury context we see both substantial and distressing claims against employers which means employers must put in place arrangements to avoid or deal them at an early stage.
Care should be taken to ensure that the causes of stress at work which have been identified by the HSE such as a lack of control over work are avoided, and that warning signs such as working long hours or out of character behaviour are spotted.
Claims for disability discrimination or harassment and breach of the duty of care to provide a safe working environment should be avoided by ensuring that issues are flagged by dealing with performance or grievance issues properly and sensitively at an early stage.
If this is not done employers can face substantial claims by employees who will never work again in their chosen area of work which are both costly and very damaging of an employer's reputation.
Lawyers warn employers to consider their duty of care in safeguarding staff mental health Over 1.2 million employees suffered from some form of illness during the last year, a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) study has found. The figures showed that more than half a million of those employees developed a new ailment during that time and that800,000 had already been out of work for over a year due to a newly-acquired illness from their past employment. Around a third (34 per cent) of the newly-acquired illnesses were musculoskeletal in nature, while almost 46 per cent were related to stress, depression or anxiety.