The University’s legal duty
There is no specific legislation which regulates stress in the workplace, but the prevention of stress is included in the general duty of an employer to his or her employees under the following
- the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 - places a duty on the University to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all their staff. ‘Health’ includes mental health
- the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 - places a duty on employers to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to health and safety to which employees are exposed whilst they are at work for the purpose of identifying the measures they need to take to comply with the law
- the Equality Act 2010 applies to employees with a substantial long-term mental (or physical) impairment
- Civil law - an employer owes a 'duty of care' to individual employees in the course of their employment. This is the area of law with the most important implications for work-related stress. To prove a breach of this ‘duty of care’, the cause of the stress must be foreseeable.