Stress in the workplace is all too prevalent. Stress in the workplace can be caused by a number of reasons – from the sheer volume of work employees are under, workplace bullying or harassment, or self-imposed stress due to unrealistic expectations. Stress in the workplace can cause detrimental effects on an individual’s health and family, but workplace stress is avoidable.
Symptoms of Workplace Stress
Workplace stress can manifest itself in a number of ways, but the following are some of the more common symptoms:
- Stomach and abdominal pain
- Butterflies in the stomach
- Frequent indigestion
- Racing heart
- Excessive sweating
- Pain in the spine, shoulders, neck, or chest
- Muscle spasms or nervous tics
- Uncharacteristic irritability or frustration
- Lack of concentration or memory
- Erratic mood swings
- Anxiety and depression
In some cases, a psychological injury caused by workplace stress or an incident that occurred on the job may be considered a valid work injury so that the employee is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. For example, a psychological injury could be caused by an abusive foreman or extreme work-related pressure. Similarly, an employee may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event at work. Stress-related claims caused by a layoff, dismissal, or office/facility closure are not eligible for worker’s compensation, however.
U.K.’s Protection from Harassment Act of 1997
Some countries recognize the fact that, in many cases, workplace stress can be attributed to the employer and are enacting legislation to hold employers accountable for their role in contributing to workplace stress. For example, in the United Kingdom, employers have an obligation to prevent stalking and bullying in the workplace under the Harassment Act of 1997.
Employers in the United Kingdom also have an obligation to protect their employees from injury and to provide a safe working environment. In order to fulfill their obligations, employers should perform a risk assessment of any task and ensure that the employee is able to perform the task safely. Safe tasks performance requires adherence to a manageable level of work duties so that the employee can perform the tasks to the best of their ability and without risk of injury. When an employer allows an employee to be subjected to unreasonable work expectations or fails to prevent harassment by managers or colleagues, the employer has failed to conduct a proper risk assessment.
The Chicago workplace injury attorneys at Ankin Law Offices, LLC are committed to protecting the rights of employees injured on the job.