Case law decisions this year are going really well for employers!
Stress at work is not considered to be a disability.
Which means if you have any employees who, once you start a disciplinary or redundancy process, go off sick with stress, you no longer have to make any “reasonable adjustments”.
If you have an employee with a disability, this is a grey area that is very difficult to define: what exactly is reasonable?
But if they are off with stress, it should now be treated as if they were off with the flu. And it doesn’t need to slow down the process.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) said that depression can meet the definition of a disability outlined in the Equality Act 2010 but stress (including work-related stress) does not. It is generally a reaction to adverse circumstances and this condition does not satisfy the definition.
Importantly, the EAT went on to say that “unhappiness with a decision or a colleague, or a tendency to nurse grievances or a refusal to compromise are not of themselves mental impairments” .
Obviously do contact us as soon as you have a member of staff off with stress, but be reassured, it is not as difficult to deal with as it was!