A human resources manager is seeking £800,000 from her former employer, claiming she was over-worked until she fell ill.
Joanna Maclennan worked ‘impossible hours’ including 12 hour days, while recruiting staff for insurance firm Hartford Europe, the High Court was told yesterday.
The 36 year old was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome in 2006 and has not worked for five years. Her Barrister, David Melville QC, said the company ignored her health ‘against a background of excessive hours, which she has been required to work.’ She allegedly relied on vitamin supplements and cold medicine to get throughout the working day after joining Hartford in November 2004.
The court heard she was off sick on numerous occasions the following year but work would continue to pile up. Mrs MacLennan, from Sutton, Surrey, said she ‘got a buzz’ from being stretched at work.
‘If I had been sitting waiting for work to come in, then that would not have been good’, she told the court. ‘There’s a difference between being stressed and stretched, certainly.’
The company’s barrister, David Platt QC, said to Mrs Maclennan was recalling events through ‘a dark telescope’ and claimed to have enjoyed her work in emails to friends.
Mr Platt also alleged Mrs Maclennan was once absent because she was passed over for promotion in 2005. She replied ‘I wouldn’t want to be promoted. That never crossed my mind. I just wanted to be able to do my job’. The hearing continues.
Source – Metro
LST Comment – At initial looks this seems to be a reasonable claim for constructive dismissal due to Stress; however we can only comment from what we have read, clearly there will be much more evidence presented to the court; We’re sure the outcome of the case will be made known as it comes to a close, and we will aim to bring you the findings once they are finalised.
Every employer has a duty to manage the stress of their employees, the HSE website gives guidance on how employers should develop policies to manage Stress and the processes to follow. For further information see: http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/