|Abstract:||Master thesis deals with employer’s tort liability for damages caused by work related stress. Stress is present in all areas of our lives and is our daily "companion". It is a state of human organism which is scientifically researched in medicine, biology, psychology and also in human resources management. In the last few decades there has been a significant recogniction of stress in scientific and as well in popular literature.
According to the pathophysiological definition, stress is "a state in an environment or an organism that potentially or actually threatens the integrity or life of an organism" (Grubič, 2016, p. 5). The very source of stress is not a single concept but it is a web of various factors that form a peculiar conglomerate. Often, the leading cause of stress (especially negative) lies in our professional life. Factors of stress in the working environment are, above all, work overload, harassment at the workplace, working conditions, responsibility for others, type of employment, uncertainty of roles, bad organization, etc. Negative stress describes stress with harmful effects on health. Negative stress is caused by imbalance between requirements and abilities that are less than requirements. Medical science has identified a link between stress and some type of illnesses (heart disease, cancer, skin diseases, depression, etc.).
Slovenian tort law (both in theory and in practice) did not pay enough attention to stress, despite the prevalence of the topic in and the general awareness of the presence and harmfulness of stress. Tort liability is the type of obligational relationship. It is the obligation of the responsible person to compensate the injured party for the damages caused by the actions of responsible person, and the right of the injured party to claim damages from the responsible person. Tort liability depends on certain legal facts which must occur. These legal facts are regarded as prerequisites of tort liability. These are: unlawfulness or unacceptably harmful fact, the causal link between the unlawfulness that originates from the sphere of the responsible person and the negative consequence (damage) that arises in the sphere of the injured person, the damage itself, which can be material or non-material, and the culpability (in some circumstances an individual can also be tort liable without being culpable i.e. strict liability).
The master's thesis consists of three sections. In the first section, according to the current scientific findings, we have determined the characteristics of stress, determined the causes of stress, and how they can be related to the behavior of the employer, and then determinated the consequences of stress for the individual (psychological, physiological and behavioral). In the second part, by analyzing the general prerequisites of tort liability, we tried to answer the question whether the employer can be held liable for damage due to stress at the workplace. In the third part, we paid attention to the relevant case law in the field of liability for damages (both domestic and foreign).
In the master's thesis, it has been established that both national and international legal acts which regulates health and safety at workplace also refers to stress as a negative impact on health, and that the employer is according to the rules on general tort liability as well as the rules on contractual tort liability can be responsible for the harmful effects of stress at work, and by that we have confirmed all three hypotheses.|