Walker v Northumberland County Council [1995] 1 All ER 737 (QBD)

Negligence – stress – duty of care – employment

Where it was reasonably foreseeable to an employer that an employee might suffer a nervous breakdown because of the stress and pressures of his workload, the employer was under a duty of care, as part of the duty to provide a safe system of work, not to cause the employee psychiatric damage by reason of the volume or character of the work which the employee was required to perform.

The local authority ought to have foreseen that, after suffering one nervous breakdown due to workload, if the employee was again exposed to the same workload there was a risk that he would suffer another nervous breakdown which would probably end his career as a social services area manager. The local authority ought therefore to have provided additional assistance to reduce the plaintiff’s workload even at the expense of some disruption of other social work

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