Workplace Stress - Employees

What to do if you are suffering from stress at work

Employee’s guide to workplace stress:

1. Evaluate the situation:

  • Review your general lifestyle
    • identify factors that you can change which contribute to your workplace stress levels (eg not taking breaks that you are entitled to or taking work home with you)
  • If you think you are currently experiencing stress-related physical and/or mental ill health, talk to your GP or other health professional about getting further treatment
    • It may also be advisable to check your employer’s policies relating to stress and ill health, as your employer may provide further support (eg via a helpline)
  • Keep a diary to identify any triggers of stress this will help you deal with them
    • If you feel that you are being bullied or harassed at work it can also be important to write down details of every incident and keep copies of any relevant documents, as these may be useful if you decide to file a grievance or take legal action in the future
  • If you are suffering from stress as a result of difficulties making childcare arrangements and you have a child under the age of 6 (or a disabled child under the age of 18) you could be entitled to flexible working arrangements
    • Review your employer’s policies and consider making a request for flexible working
  • If you experience offensive or intimidating behaviour at work which aims to humiliate, undermine or injure you, it may be useful to check your employer’s policy on bullying and harassment
    • Your employer may have a ‘harassment adviser’ trained to help with bullying and harassment problems, who may be able to help you
  • If you feel that you are being discriminated against or victimised in that you are being treated differently and less favourably than others, or you are disadvantaged compared to other groups of people who, eg are not of the same gender or religion as you - check any relevant equal opportunities policies of your employer

2. Make a decision:

Following your evaluation, make a decision as to what is causing you to be stressed and what you feel would resolve the situation.

3. Act on your decision:

If you think you are suffering from work-related stress and/or ill health you must notify your employer as soon as possible in order to make sure that you get as much support as possible, and protect your legal position if you decide to take further action in the future.

If possible, arrange an informal meeting with your employer so that you can dedicate some time to finding a solution to your problem.

It may be useful to:

  • make notes of what you want to cover in the meeting, and
  • ask for the meeting to have recorded minutes

A list of possible topics that you want to try to agree with your employer may be:

  • A definition of what the problem is
  • Identify what has caused the problem
  • A plan to tackle the cause(s) of the problem
  • Assess whether anyone else is experiencing similar problems, and if a broader organisational intervention is therefore required (eg through your trade union)

4. Raise a Grievance:

If your employer is unable or unwilling to deal with the cause of your stress to your satisfaction on an informal basis, you can submit a grievance in writing to your employer.

Once your employer has received your grievance:

  • your employer should consider your grievance and invite you to a meeting to discuss your grievance
  • you can usually ask to be accompanied at this meeting by a trusted colleague or trade union representative
  • After the meeting, your employer should inform you of their decision

If you do not agree with their decision, you can usually make an appeal.

5. Taking legal action:

You may consider taking legal action if you have exhausted all other options. There are many different courses of action you may choose, depending on your situation eg.

  • you may wish to consider resigning from your job, and/or
  • issuing a claim for the injury you have suffered in a court or tribunal

If you want to consider taking further legal action you should get detailed legal advice relevant to your situation.

It is important to remember that tribunals and courts have strict time limits for issuing claims, which may mean that you have as little as 3 months to issue a claim.

Are you a suffering from stress at work?

Contact us now to discuss how we can help you make a claim against your employer for workplace stress by completing our, no obligation, online enquiry form and we will call you back or you can call us directly on 0808 129 3320.

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Jane Latimer - Personal Injury and Stress at Work Solicitor - Wimbledon, London

Jane Latimer
Partner, Head of Trade Union
T: 0844 858 3800

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