We report on a case where the stress suffered by an employee due to his work situation and subsequent litigation was not sufficient to give rise to a disability.

Background

In this case the Claimant, Mr Herry, brought a wide-ranging claim against his employer, Hillcrest School in Dudley. The claim made 90 complaints (including a complaints of disability discrimination, which are relevant here, and involved a 39 day trial and 317 page judgment.

Mr Herry was ultimately found to have brought some of the claims unreasonably and a six figure costs award was made against him, but that is another story.

Central to this claim was the disability relied on by the Claimant, namely stress. In this regard, the Employment Appeal Tribunal commented that for some individuals the situation at work can become entrenched, where the person will not give way or compromise over an issue, refuses to return to work, or issues and progresses an Employment Tribunal claim. None of these situations will necessarily impact on normal day to day activities, but, as the EAT stated “They may simply reflect a person’s character or personality”. This was the case here, and the stress suffered by Mr Herry therefore did not amount to a disability

Implications

Obviously this is an extraordinary case, but the important thing to glean from it is that long-term stress (in this case 3 years) does not necessarily amount to a disability, without a clear impact on day to day activities.

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Updates: For employers: Discrimination | For employees: Discrimination |

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