English Hotel Employment Case

Hone v Six Continents Retail Ltd. [2005] EWCA Civ 922H was employed as a licensed house manager at a hotel for 4 years, when he was moved to another hotel owned by the same company. He began to suffer from headaches and insomnia. After 8 months of working in the new hotel he had a meeting with the operations manager to express his concern about the excessive workload and the need for the appointment of an assistant manager. He had recorded workloads of around 90 hours a week. After 9 months in the new post, he suffered giddiness and chest pain and subsequently collapsed at work. He claimed that this was because of stress due to his excessive workload. He was awarded £21840 (€24396/$32513) damages for psychiatric injury due to stress at work.The employer appealed. It contested the number of hours work that H claimed but admitted in court that this recording of hours may have been a cry for help. However, S claimed that it could not have reasonably have foreseen, from the time of H’s meeting with the operations manager, that H would suffer psychiatric injury. He had no previous history of mental illness or stress at work.The Court of Appeal rejected S’s appeal. The employer was aware that H had been working long hours. He had complained about it for a long period and had decided not to sign the opt-out permitted under the Working Time Regulations because of it. There was sufficient evidence of impending harm to health and a reasonable employer would have done something about it.John J Downes

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