Stressed woman at work

Can I Sue for Emotional Stress at Work?

Work can be stressful for workers depending on the season, time of the month, or multiple other factors. Most workers may report feeling stressed at work occasionally, weekly, or even daily. For those feeling stressed daily, these emotions can make it difficult to perform tasks successfully, resulting in a supervisor being upset, adding more stress to the employee. It’s a cycle of frustration.

Workers who feel emotional stress harms their well-being may seek options to relieve it. This could include taking time away from work. Employees may feel more comfortable taking this time off through a workers’ compensation claim, but how is this possible?

Workers’ Compensation Claim for Stress

According to California law, employees may be able to file for workers’ compensation due to stress, but only under certain circumstances.

To qualify for this type of workers’ compensation, you may need to prove that a mental health or psychiatric disorder they previously had worsened in the recent months or years since they began working.

Standards of Proving Emotional Distress

There are two types of stresses in particular that you should consider before filing for workers’ compensation.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

With this particular stress, you must prove that the employer:

  • Caused you work-specific emotional distress;
  • Created outrageous behavior that contributed to your additional stress; and,
  • Intentionally conducted actions to cause you additional stress or disregarded creating emotional stress for you.

Proving this type of distress is not easy to do on your own. That’s because the law says you must prove “actual” or “proximate” actions caused you this distress.

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

With this type of distress, you must be able to prove that:

  • Your employer was negligent to your emotions;
  • Because of your employer’s actions, you suffered severe emotional distress; and,
  • Your employer’s negligence was the most significant factor in your emotional pain.

While this may seem simple to prove, that’s not always the case. In this scenario, you must prove that your employer breached the duty of care they owed you as an employee.

Considering Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim Due to Stress at Work?

As shared, filing a workers’ compensation claim due to work stress can be difficult to prove on your own. That’s why you need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney by your side.

The dedicated team at The Sexton Law Firm is ready to help you — whether you’re debating if you have enough for a claim or are ready to put pen to paper, our team is prepared to help you get the best possible result. Reach out online or by phone so we can start working together. (619) 202-8976