£682,325 award for psychological injury
Compensation of £682,325 was awarded at Bristol District Registry to a 39 year-old female employee of the ambulance service. The Claimant's mental health was affected and she suffered severe psychological distress as a result of continual bullying and harassment by her co-workers.
The Claimant, aged 35 at the time at which the abuse was suffered, was an employee of the defendant ambulance service working in its fleet logistics department.
Over an extensive period of her employment, she found that her line managers were repeatedly psychologically abusive and offered her no encouragement or help in her role.
She was the victim of rude and sexist jibes about her appearance and position within the organisation, and she alleged that she did not receive adequate support when forced to take time off for depression.
The Claimant was moved to an administrative position and discovered that her authority and role were diluted by the appointment of a new employee to her previous post.
She continued to suffer psychological bullying from her seniors and was moved between positions after explaining that she was suicidal. She had been phased out to the extent that human resources were unable to explain the nature of her role.
Eventually, the Claimant attended a GP appointment and was prescribed anti-depressants. She suffered serious psychotic delusions and was referred to a crisis team for a fortnight. The grave concern over her mental health led to her being put on special leave. She was made redundant months later.
What was alleged?
The Claimant alleged that her former employers had breached their duty of care and caused the breakdown in their relationship that drove the Claimant's severe mental illness.
It was held that the defendant had made a material contribution towards the Claimant's illness and as such both a breach of duty and causation could be established.
The judge rebuffed the defendant's argument that the Claimant's illness had led to the dilution of her role within the organisation.
The Claimant was awarded damages totalling £682,325.
£27,500 was awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity. General damages were ordered for loss of earnings, loss of pension, loss of future earnings and pension, and loss of a car benefit. Special damages were ordered for past loss of earnings and interest owed on damages.