Workplace stress drives up disability discrimination claims by more than a third, employment law experts suggest.
The number of disability discrimination claims at Employment Tribunals has risen by 37%, from 4,770 in 2017 to 6,550 in 2018.
Employment lawyers told The Telegraph that the rise may be driven by an increased willingness of individuals to bring claims related to mental health issues. In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the problems these issues cause in the workplace.
The research, conducted by Fox & Partners, the employment law specialists. also found that the rise in disability discrimination claims has been eight times faster than the growth in all claims.
The firm analysed figures from the Ministry of Justice which also showed that the total number of claims at Employment Tribunals increased by 4.3% to 178,990 in the last year, up from 171,630 in 2017. Mind, the mental health charity, described the tribunal figures as “shocking”.Embed code:Ivor Adair, Partner at Fox & Partners, comments: “Discrimination claims related to stress and mental illness are fast becoming a new area of friction between employees and employers.”
“Workers are now facing a range of increased pressures impacting their mental health. This is especially true for employees in financial services, with the introduction of the Senior Managers Regime and the additional work needed to prepare for Brexit.”
“Employers need to ensure they handle the pressures facing their employees in the correct way. Improved training amongst managers in dealing with mental illness can help them reduce the likelihood of claims by increasing awareness and helping them create ways to ameliorate them.”
The number of stress-related absences in financial services is now higher than in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis. The number of working days lost per worker in financial services dues to stress rose to an average of 0.53 days between 2014-15 and 2016-17 – 10% higher than the average 0.48 days between 2007-8 and 2009-10.
There are now many charitable and industry led campaigns designed to raise awareness of mental health issues.
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