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Despite disputed liability, Shoosmiths negotiated a six figure settlement for an NHS administrator who was the victim of poor management, leading to stress at work.
According to a recent study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, stress is now the biggest cause of long-term absence from work. In the current economic climate, with cuts and redundancies commonplace, the pressure on employees to produce more with less is growing. Against this backdrop, it's anticipated that work-related stress is likely to increase.
Mrs A was a senior administrator working for a busy NHS department. She had considerable experience and was recognised as a valuable member of staff.
As such, she was promoted to head a new project and was responsible for providing administrative support for a new department and managing clerical staff. Unfortunately, due to poor planning on the part of senior management, the project was fraught with problems from the outset. These included the seemingly trivial - not enough seats for staff - to major problems such as inadequate staff recruitment.
Despite the best efforts of Mrs A, the situation was compounded by the unwillingness of her superiors to deal with the problems she'd identified, which went on for around two years. Mrs A was told repeatedly there wasn't enough money to implement much needed changes.
'I would like to thank Sharine for all her kindness and support during the claim. The service I received was first rate, and I highly recommend Sharine and Shoosmiths.' - Mrs A
During this period, Mrs A was put under extreme pressure to ensure the day-to-day running of the new department, which led to her working excessive hours and becoming stressed.
Mrs A was eventually signed off work by her doctor, as a result of occupational stress. She was unable to return to work due to her condition and was eventually medically retired from the NHS.
Mrs A instructed Shoosmiths to pursue a claim for compensation against the NHS.
The case was difficult because throughout it the NHS denied any liability for Mrs A's illness. In particular, it denied that Mrs A had been put under undue pressure at work, and further that her illness had not been caused as a result of her exposure to occupational stress.
Despite the NHS stance, we fought the case and commenced court proceedings against the NHS. During proceedings the NHS agreed to compensate Mrs A, and we negotiated a significant payment.
This case was handled by associate Sharine Burgess, who has more than 12 years' experience dealing with personal injury claims. Sharine specialises in pursuing claims brought by employed and self-employed claimants in relation to injuries at work, and has a particular interest in occupational stress claims.
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