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Staff stress dangers for employers

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As money worries and job cuts hang over the heads of thousands of UK employees, their managers have been warned to recognise and sympathise with stress or face legal consequences.

A new guide published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has spelt out the legal obligations and resulting penalties facing employers who fail to identify, rectify and prevent stress at work.

Produced with support from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Acas and the Health, Work and Wellbeing programme, Work-Related Stress: What The Law Says highlights recent cases which serve as a reminder to employers of the possible financial dangers.

Over the past year, a postal worker was awarded £94,000 when employers failed to provide support for stress, while a Deutsche Bank employee was recently awarded £828,000 in a similar incident.

The CIPD’s quarterly July 2010 Employee Outlook survey showed almost half (49%) of staff have noticed an increase in stress at work as a result of the economic downturn.

“It is in employers’ interests to manage stress at work proactively and not just assume all staff are coping, particularly in a tough economic environment where many employees are under pressure to do more with less,” commented Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health and Work.

In broad terms, employers should listen sympathetically and try to deal with employee stress, particularly if any sick leave due to stress or mental illness has been taken. Employers also have a duty to consider whether they can improve a working situation, such as by hiring additional temporary staff.

“Employers that fail to manage stress effectively risk losing key staff through high absence levels and employee turnover,” added CIPD Senior Public Policy Adviser Ben Wilmott.

“They will also suffer from low staff morale and risk higher levels of conflict and accidents in the workplace. In addition, they potentially face costly personal injury claims, as well as damage to their employer brand.”


Written by Andrew Hodges

September 28, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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