Q: I am under huge pressure at work because of staff cutbacks. I don’t know how much longer I can go on. I work late every day without extra pay, and I go home exhausted. My partner says I shouldn’t do it, but I’m worried I’ll lose my job. I tried talking to my boss, but he just said these are hard times for everyone and we must all pull together if the firm is to survive. If he made me redundant, I would at least have some money to fall back on while I’m looking for another job, but if I leave, I’ll have nothing. What can I do?
A: Your situation sounds like a classic case of workplace stress caused by an excessive workload. If your boss continues to put pressure on you in this way and you feel forced to resign because of the stress this causes you, then you may be able to claim constructive dismissal. Before you do anything, however, you should do two things – firstly talk to your GP to determine the cause of your stress and get in on record as evidence in case you make a claim, and secondly talk to an employment lawyer who can advise what actions to take in your best interests.
Your employer has a duty of care, not just to protect you from physical injury at work but also from mental anxiety and stress caused by your job. However, proving stress at work can be tricky. In some instances, employees suffering from work related stress can appeal to their employer to, for example, reduce their working hours, provide additional support, agree to flexible working etc. However, in your case it seems unlikely that this would achieve anything. Even so, there are still protocols to follow, and an employment solicitor will be able to advise you about them.
This question has been answered by James Denton, a Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194