Susan Richardson, represented by Harbottle & Lewis, recently recovered a substantial six-figure personal injury damages award for a work related stress and bullying claim against the Priory Hospital Group.
Susan Richardson began working at the Priory Hospital Chelmsford in 2001 and, following a series of promotions, became a member of the senior management team. In 2005, the Priory Group was taken over by ABN AMRO which led to significant pressure to cut staff costs. Ms Richardson alleged, along with other employees, that this was to the detriment of patient care and resulted in her workload becoming intolerable. Her complaints of excessive work demands, poor staff morale and the impact on her health were largely ignored by the management team. She was signed off work sick in November 2009 and returned in 2010 taking a demotion in order to relieve the pressure upon her. She alleged that she was then bullied by her line manager (whom she had previously managed) and she finally went off sick again in April 2011 and has been unable to work since.
Susan Richardson was represented by Howard Hymanson, Head of Employment at Harbottle & Lewis. Proceedings were issued in January 2013 in the High Court seeking damages for psychiatric injuries (Andrew Buchan of Counsel was instructed) as well as in the Employment Tribunal seeking compensation for Disability Discrimination (Paul Michell of Counsel was instructed). Both sets of proceedings were settled last month in mediation.
Commenting on the result, Ms Richardson said “words cannot really express my gratitude for the work carried out on my behalf by Howard Hymanson and his team. The outcome of the claim is for me life changing and I feel as if a great weight has been taken off my mind with the successful conclusion to the case. I was fortunate to have lawyers representing me who appreciated how ill I had become due to my employer’s treatment and who were at the same time able to engage empathetically with me during a very dark time.”
Howard Hymanson commented that: “the outcome of the litigation was very pleasing and fully vindicated the client’s brave decision to take on such a large employer. Whilst there are millions of workers in the UK who at times may feel that their work place has made them ill due to occupational stress, the difficulties that potential litigants face in order to pursue a claim to successful conclusion can’t be overstated and in reality only a small minority of claims should proceed to litigation.”
Notes: Howard Hymanson is one of the few employment litigation lawyers with expertise and experience of conducting High Court psychiatric damages claims (through to trial) arising out of bullying and excessive work demands, in tandem with high value Employment Tribunal discrimination and bullying actions. He has a number of on-going cases acting for City workers and this month he also settled at mediation another Psychiatric damages claim on behalf of a senior manager of a national logistics company, again for a high six figure sum. The details of this claim are subject to a strict confidentiality restriction.