Employers are being urged not to target vulnerable workers as the economic crisis puts businesses and individuals under pressure.

Rethink, a national mental health charity, has suggested that some companies are looking to get rid of staff they view as easy targets.

The charity was commenting on a report entitled In the Face of Fear, published by the Mental Health Foundation.

According to Rethink, the report has suggested a link between people’s fear of losing their job and increased levels of anxiety.

Commenting on the potential problems faced by the UK’s workforce as a result of the recession, Paul Corry, director of public affairs at Rethink, said that the link between job security and increased anxiety levels "may well be true, we also know that in times of recession it is the most vulnerable workers who can get targeted by employers looking for ‘easy’ ways to reduce costs".

Mr Corry went on to say that it was important for employees to be protected against the "ignorance and fear of employers".

The In the Face of Fear report suggested that public bodies and businesses should take steps to help people deal with institutionally-driven fear.