Some Thoughts About Occupational Stress Cases
Emma Costin, a Partner at Simpson Millar LLP and Personal Injury Lawyer for many years has dealt with a whole range of cases. She has experience dealing with everything from serious road traffic accidents to minor scratches and cuts however, some of the most difficult, for a number of reasons are the occupational stress and harassment cases.
Here are some of her thoughts on running those cases:
"The law is complex in this area
, and in my experience some Judge’s just do not seem to like stress cases.
These cases are factually heavy, often with a large number of witnesses and the cases can be buried in irrelevant side issues and paperwork that is just not needed. Adding to that, the claimant is often vulnerable and every time they have to deal with the case it exacerbates their psychological injury as it brings the harassment right back.
I always make sure the claimant sees the letter of claim before it is sent out to the defendant because it will include detailed allegations about how they were treated by their superiors or colleagues, as it can reignite the bullying if the claimant is still working in the same workplace. The claimant needs to be sure they are able to deal with that, as it is important to point out potential consequences and risks of bringing such a claim.
For me though, it is extremely
rewarding to succeed in an occupational stress case, because for many claimants it shows a recognition that they were wronged by their employer. Often we see that the bullying takes place and the claimant informs management, but they fail to do anything about it.
In many cases, damages simply aren't the reason why claimant’s bring these cases; it is often to highlight behaviour and to put a stop to it
. A satisfactory conclusion allows the claimant to hopefully move on and put it all behind them.
Bringing a case can also assist in relocating a claimant to an alternative part of the business or in some cases the aggressor can be moved.
Bullying and harassment in the workplace should never be tolerated and Simpson Millar LLP as a firm is proud that our stress department can assist in highlighting these cases
and obtaining damages for the claimant."