Police Federation

Member awarded 5-figure settlement as a result of psychological injury at work

PFEW and Setfords secure pay out for ill-health retired officer as force demonstrates breach of duty and contract.

17 August 2023


The member declared a disability, which made no difference to his ability to perform his role, aside from the fact he would not be able to work night shifts.

Later, without notice or consultation, he was removed from his role. Due to his condition and imminent role change, he was referred to Occupational Health and subsequently placed on the list for medical deployment.

What followed was a series of unsuitable roles which led to the deterioration of his physical and mental health and amounted to a breach of duty by the force.

The Workforce Development Unit acknowledged his feelings on the issue due to the lack of a meaningful role.

He was subsequently successful in applying for a 12-month secondment to CTU. This was a role he enjoyed, however, when the secondment ended, he was once again offered an unsuitable role.

The struggle he endured in this role led to a significant toll on his mental health. He suffered a breakdown and was subsequently signed off work.

Occupational Health confirmed he had a long-term disability and was not fit to work nights. The report also confirmed he was off sick due to the failure to provide him with a substantive post in line with his experience and rank.

However, the member decided to return to work before he felt ready, as he was notified his pay was due to be reduced by half.

Upon his return to work, he was placed in yet another temporary role with very little to do. The lack of certainty and absence of a meaningful post continued to impact his mental health.

Later that year, he submitted a stage 3 Fairness at Work complaint. Due to an oversight by the complaint manager, arbitration regarding this complaint broke down, which led to PFEW and Setfords getting involved.

To receive a settlement for psychological injury, lawyers had to prove the force knew, or should have known, there was a risk of psychological injury at work for the client.

The force was found to be fully aware of the failure to provide the member with a substantive role and that this was exacerbating his mental health. However, the force continued to post him to roles which were not suitable.

The Setfords team had to prove the force was in breach of duty and contract. Although it is accepted police officers do not have contracts of employment, a duty of care is still owed to them.

It was argued the force had demonstrated a breach of duty and contract in several ways, and an of £70,000 was made by the force this year.

As with all personal injury claims pursued with PFEW, the member was able to keep 100 per cent of their damages.

We use cookies on this website, you can read about them here To use the website as intended please... ACCEPT COOKIES