Post Office hit by new stress pay-out

The Post Office has run into further trouble after being forced to give a
former manager £175,000 for stress in an out-of-court settlement.

In the latest of a succession of cases to feature a six-figure award, an
ex-manager successfully claimed that excessive workloads caused a breakdown.

He had been a workshop manager in Scunthorpe for 30 years when in 1992 he
was given new responsibilities as part of the Business Development Review.

The news came just days after the Post Office concluded one of the most
bitter industrial disputes in recent years over the cutting of overtime (News 8
February).

In the stress case, the man, who does not want his identity revealed,
suffered from stress due to increased workload and said that his duties
actually increased after reporting his problems to the occupational health
department. In 1995 he was diagnosed with reactive depression and was medically
retired.

"This is a signal to employers that when an employee shows signs of
stress – and even consults the employer’s own medical staff – the employer is
obliged to reduce the burden," said Andrew Darke of Irwin Mitchell, the
man’s solicitor.

A spokesman for the Post Office said that it has run awareness classes for
employees for 10 years.

He accepted that these failed to prevent the court case, but added, "It
might have mitigated other cases."

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