When i'm not wasting my evenings watching sport, I work as a Business Manager for a stress management company (Aum Consultancy). As part of my role, I write blogs and articles for our website. Below is a recent article on a football story that didn't really get the attention it merited...)
You're a manger who is performing reasonably well in your job, you've established a decent reputation among your peers and have a bright future in the role. Unfortunately, you then suffer an illness and are off work for 3 months, during this time your employer finds a suitable standing, but remains in touch and assures you you're job is safe. 3 months later you are feeling better and ready to resume your duties, you arrange a meeting with your employer and everything is in place. Then just before the meeting, she rings you up and tells you you're sacked.
I'm guessing you'd be more than a bit miffed. However, the above scenario was one that happened to the now ex Torquay United manager Martin Ling. Non football fans (and indeed some football fans) will not be familiar with Ling, but he is a well respected lower league manager and was in the hot seat at Torquay until he was diagnosed with a stress related illness in January. At the time, Torquay were occupying a comfortable mid table position.
Torquay allowed Ling time off to recover and appointed an interim manager (Alan Knill) to look after the team for the final three months of the season During that time, the team, and Knill, understandably struggled to adapt to the change and only just avoided relegation on the last day of the season. Meanwhile, Ling had fully recovered and had been in contact with Torquay. Indeed the Torquay hierarchy had gone public in confirming that Ling was coming back to the club.
Then a couple of days before Ling was due to return, he received an out of the blue phone call from the club chairwoman telling him he was being sacked! The official line from the club was that Ling had been dismissed for "footballing reasons", although given the club's performance over the course of the season this seems quite a flimsy reason. There is also the issue of why the club chose to dismiss him just before he was due to return to work.
Perceptions towards stress and well-being are improving, but as the above case demonstrates, there is still a lot of work that can be done. Ling himself, best summed up the situation: "If I had had a heart attack or cancer and this had happened there'd be uproar, but because it's a stress-related illness it seems they can get away with it"