Stressed HR woman wins massive payout

An HR professional at Intel UK has been awarded more than £114,000 by the High Court after she became so stressed at work she had a nervous breakdown.

In 2000, Tracy Daw was put in charge of integrating the payroll and benefits of new employees acquired by the world’s largest computer chip maker through mergers and takeovers.

By the following year, Daw claimed the workload was so high at the company’s UK head office in Swindon she was doing the job of nearly two people. She had a nervous breakdown in June 2001 and brought a claim for negligence against Intel, saying she had received no help from the company.

Daw won the case despite Intel offering free counselling to staff who felt stressed.

Mr Justice Goldring held that “the counselling service could be of little or no help to Miss Daw. It could not reduce her workload”.

He said the demands on her were totally unreasonable and the risk of harm was clear to the company.

He awarded Daw £16,000 for the breakdown she suffered, £92,782 for loss of earnings and £5,983 interest on the damages.

“I was just so angry that the company had let me down and put me in this situation, even though I had done everything I could to flag up the problems I was having,” Daw said.

Tim Dixon, partner at law firm Lemon & Co, which represented Daw, said the case succeeded because Daw had kept notes of every e-mail and meeting where she was asking for help, proving she had too much work and bosses knew about it.

Chris Hook, a spokesman for Intel, would not comment on whether the case would lead to a review of procedures in cases of stress at the company.

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