Workplace stress drives up disability discrimination claims by more than a third, employment law experts suggest.The number of disability discrimination claims at Employment Tribunals has risen by 37%, from 4,770 in 2017 to 6,550 in 2018.Employment lawyers told The Telegraph that the rise may be driven by an increased willingness of individuals to bring claims related to mental health issues. In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the problems these issues cause in the workplace.The research, conducted by Fox & Partners, the employment law specialists. also found that the rise in disability discrimination claims has been eight times faster than the growth in all claims.The firm analysed figures from the Ministry of Justice which also showed that the total number of claims at Employment Tribunals increased by 4.3% to 178,990 in the last year, up from 171,630 in 2017. Mind, the mental health charity, described the tribunal figures as “shocking”. Ivor Adair, Partner at Fox & Partners, comments: “Discrimination claims related to stress and mental illness are fast becoming a new area of friction between employees and employers.”“Workers are now facing a range of increased pressures impacting their mental health. This is especially true for employees in financial services, with the introduction of the Senior Managers Regime and the additional work needed to prepare for Brexit.”“Employers need to ensure they handle the pressures facing their employees in the correct way. Improved training amongst managers in dealing with mental illness can help them reduce the likelihood of claims by increasing awareness and helping them create ways to ameliorate them.”The number of stress-related absences in financial services is now higher than in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis. The number of working days lost per worker in financial services dues to stress rose to an average of 0.53 days between 2014-15 and 2016-17 – 10% higher than the average 0.48 days between 2007-8 and 2009-10.There are now many charitable and industry led campaigns designed to raise awareness of mental health issues. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Embed code: The Government has also pledged to commit to the 40 recommendations of the Stevenson Farmer Review of mental health and employers, the independent review of mental health and the workplace published in October 2017, aiming to better support employees.Furthermore, the abolition of tribunal fees in July 2017 helped lead to a wave of tribunal claims coming forward. Overall, in the last five years, the number of claims related to disability discrimination increased by 99%, up from 3,294 in 2012-13.Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind, said: “It’s shocking to see that so many people feel that they’ve experienced disability discrimination in the workplace and have had to seek justice as a result through employment tribunals.”Employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to any employee experiencing a disability under the Equality Act 2010, which can include a mental health problem if it has a substantial, adverse, and long term effect on normal day-to-day activities. However, in order to benefit from the protection of the Act, employees have to disclose their disabilities.Ms Mamo added: “Unfortunately, many staff fear opening up if they’re struggling with issues like stress, anxiety and depression at work, worrying that their employer will see them as weak or unable to cope. But those of us with mental health problems can and do make a valuable contribution to the workplace, especially if our employer provides support when we need it.”

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