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Six-figure stress settlement awarded to teacher

News | Published in TESS on 6 January, 2012 | By: Henry Hepburn

Payment is the largest of its kind to have been paid to an EIS member

A teacher has received a record six-figure settlement as a result of an occupational stress case.

The EIS union said it highlighted the problem of growing numbers of teachers falling victim to stress.

The out-of-court settlement - the largest ever paid to an EIS member as a result of occupational stress - followed an employer’s failure to act upon repeated reports of excessive workload.

The exact figure awarded has not been disclosed but formed part of almost £650,000 in compensation for work-related injuries - another record figure - secured by the EIS for members from November 2010 to November 2011.

“The growth in the number of cases involving psychiatric injury and stress-related illness must be a warning to employers that they need to take account of their employees’ mental, as well as physical, well-being,” said general secretary Ronnie Smith.

“The fact that this record compensation award arose from a workload- related case, which was compounded by a lack of management support, is no coincidence.

“This clearly illustrates just how serious such injuries can be, and the heavy price that employers will have to pay if they fail in their obligations to protect their staff.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said it expected councils to minimise the risk of stress or injury, and any related claims, through their own local health-and-safety procedures.

The EIS dealt with about 100 compensation claims this year - double the level of a decade ago. Of these, 32 were successful. A number resulted from assaults by pupils: one teacher was kicked between the eyes and suffered severe facial injuries.

But the main cause of injury to teachers and lecturers was slips and trips.

“Sadly, the evidence from the past year is that educational employers still have a great deal of work to do to improve the safety of our schools, colleges and universities,” said Mr Smith.

henry.hepburn@tess.co.uk

Examples of compensation for EIS members in 2010-11

Nature of claim: Award

Exposed to asbestos, causing mesothelioma: £49,500

Injuries to both feet, a fracture to toe and injury to right leg due to falling object: £15,000

Psychiatric injury, anxiety and depression, arising from work-related stress, caused by workload and poor management: £7,500

Noise-induced hearing loss due to high levels of noise within technical department: £7,500

While intervening in a fight between two pupils, claimant suffered injuries to lower back. Also suffered psychiatric injury and was off work for long period: £7,131

Fell while getting into car. Ground covered in snow and ice. Injuries sustained to ribs, back, neck and shoulder: £3,250

Fell while standing on chair, no stepladders provided. Cuts and bruising: £3,145

Claimant was taking class playing football, was kicked and punched on the side of head: £1,000.


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