An employment lawyer has warned health and protection advisers not to dismiss the concerns of employees complaining about excessive work demands and the risk of burnout.
The warning follows a case involving mortgage and protection adviser Helen McMahon who took her employer Rickmansworth-based Heron Financial Limited to tribunal.
The tribunal ruled that McMahon was fired after she claimed her 48 hour or more working week was “stressing” her out and was awarded more than £23k for unfair dismissal. Heron plans to appeal the ruling.
Melanie Stancliffe, partner at Cripps Pemberton Greenish, told Health & Protection that employees complaining about excessive work demands and burnout cannot be dismissed for raising those concerns.
“The same legal position arises where the employee is raising other legal failings, such as not getting the legally required breaks from work, not getting payslips or not being paid minimum wage,” she said.
Stancliffe explained that the key point is an employee who has less than two years’ service can bring a claim for unfair dismissal if there is a breach of their statutory rights.
“This expands the employers’ potential liability and will be particularly concerning where high earners are raising possible burnout, as they can claim the lesser of £89,493 or one year’s salary,” she continued.
“It will always come down to the judge’s decision as to what motivated the employer to dismiss – but if they decide the reason was the employee complaining about a legal right the employer hasn’t kept to, the risk is that employers will face paying substantial compensation for unfair dismissal.”