Stress hazards

Can you be liable if there’s stress in your workplace?
In some circumstances, the answer could be “yes”.
The recent employment case concerning former probation officer makes it clear that you should be watching out for stress, just as you would be looking for any other workplace hazard, according to law firm Brookfields in their publication Aviso.

Management dysfunction
The court accepted that Mr Gilbert’s burnout was caused by his work environment, and awarded him loss of future earnings, as well as damages.
The court looked not only at the nature of work, but also the volume, and concluded that work overload played large part, and management failed to respond to warnings about the consequences of staff shortages.
It was clear that the injuries arose from “excessive and avoidable additional pressures of workload, office dysfunction, management dysfunction and inadequate resources”.

Lessons:
? Have process for hearing concerns and following them up;
? Keep up with the latest publications on managing employee stress;
? Think twice before asking people to take on extra duties on semi-permanent basis;
? Monitor people if they’re doing extra work and ask for regular feedback.
Wherever possible extra work-loads should be temporary.
The key question is ?are people being exposed to work environment that’s injurious to their health?’ If so, you need to do something about it.

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