West Midland employers could face an explosion in the number of stress claims if a new law is passed.
The warning was given at a CBI seminar held in Birmingham in association with Birmingham and London law firm Martineau Johnson.
At the meeting, Jane Byford, a partner in Martineau Johnson's employment law department, told delegates that the Disability Discrimination Bill is set to demolish hurdles which have previously limited claims by stressed employees.
"Until now, the courts have been slow to back employees' claims for stress related personal injury," she said.
"Despite a small number of cases which have grabbed the headlines, the majority of successful claims brought by employees have been those where employers have been clearly negligent in their response to very obvious stress related illness.
"Furthermore, employees have not been able to claim under disability discrimination law unless they have a clinically well recognised mental illness.
"If, as seems likely, it is abolished, employers who are shown to discriminate against stressed employees could face employment tribunal claims and potentially unlimited damages."
Ms Byford pointed out that the likelihood of many more claims provides employers with even more incentive to manage the issue effectively.