Should employers worry? - Workplace stress claims following the John Walker decision
In 1995 a social worker employed by Northumberland County Council won a landmark victory in the High Court by suing his employer in respect of a stress-related illness brought about by work overload. Media coverage at the time predicted the opening of the floodgates to large numbers of such legal actions, but no such legal judgments have followed. Attempts to ascertain the reason, based on a survey and follow-up interviews of personal injury solicitors. Finds that employees faced considerable barriers to bringing personal injury claims based on psychiatric harm. However, the research also reveals that being involved in this type of litigation was a problem for employers and that some claims have been settled out of court. Concludes that regardless of legal actions, there are good reasons why employers should take seriously the issue of workplace stress.