Beverly Lancaster v Birmingham City Council [1999] (Unreported) (County Court)

Negligence – stress – employment – damages

In assessing damages for a work related psychiatric illness, it was relevant to take into account the claimant’s ability to cope with the work, the claimant’s vulnerability in the future, the nature of the illness, the effect on the claimant’s private life and the prognosis with or without further treatment.

In this case the employee in question had been given an excessively heavy workload for a period of over two years, which eventually resulted in her in illness. On her return to work, she was given ‘light’ clerical duties, but was still unable to cope and was retired on the grounds of ill-health. The local authority admitted liability and damages were assessed at over £67,000.

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