Will an employee have a successful claim of personal injury having resigned after a period of sickness absence due to stress?
Twelve months ago we made a number of employees redundant to cut costs. The reality is that the workload had not dropped significantly at the time but we desperately needed to reduce the organisation's cost base. The result of that is that all employees have had to work harder. We have tried to put in place systems to ease the workload but everyone has ended up putting in long hours.
One of our employees was absent for four weeks about three months ago. Their Fit Note said 'stress'. When they returned to work, we talked to them and discovered that they were struggling with the workload. The employee was also struggling because their mother is terminally ill, and one of their children was playing truant from school and generally getting into trouble. We helped them at work by bringing in a temporary employee and it is certainly true that they have been working shorter hours.
The employee's mother has now died and their child has been arrested for some minor offence. Two weeks ago, at work, the employee collapsed into tears and went home. They have not been back since and we have received another Fit Note saying 'stress'. They've now sent in a note of resignation and indicated that they will be taking a claim for personal injury, due to the psychological damage caused by stress at work. We think that this is very unfair, what is your advice?