Changes to disability law will put stress on pressurised employers

Forthcoming
changes in the law will make it easier for staff to make legal claims against
employers on the grounds of stress, according to legal experts.

Under
the new Disability Discrimination BilI, it is proposed that disability
discrimination protection be extended to people suffering from non-clinically
recognised mental illness within the workplace.

This
would mean claimants would no longer need to prove that their condition was
clinically recognised. Individuals are likely to use the disability
discrimination laws to bring stress claims rather than having to rely on the
common law relating to personal injury.

Andrea
Nicholls, partner and head of the employment department at law firm Howard
Kennedy said: "Stress is one of the most frequently cited complaints in
the workplace, although many people do not realise that stress itself rarely
results in an actionable claim. Employees therefore have to show that they are
additionally suffering from a clinically recognised illness if they are to be successful.

“The
proposed changes are likely to mean that it will be easier for those suffering
from stress to claim under the disability discrimination legislation,” she
said. “With payouts unlimited, employers could face costly claims, and this may
lead to a change in public attitude."

By Michael Millar

Comments are closed.