When someone suffers from emotional distress, they experience extreme anxiety that has been triggered due to the result of a stressful event. It may be caused by someone else’s unintended or purposeful actions. It may be a difficult situation if you are enduring emotional distress due to a workplace situation, particularly if your employer is to blame.
You may feel helpless if you were harassed or discriminated against by your employer, but you do not want to leave since you rely on the income. Your circumstances, on the other hand, might have a significant emotional impact on you, as well as your daily life. This could lead to your having trouble sleeping, you may lose your appetite, and fall into a deep depression.
Is it Possible to Sue Over Emotional Distress Caused By Work?
If you are going through a case of emotional distress due to your job, you may be contemplating whether you can file a lawsuit against your employer. You may be eligible to bring forth a personal injury claim to seek compensation if your mental state is caused by the company’s negligence. However, it is complicated since your condition is not physical. It’s critical that you understand what the law considers as emotional distress, as well as the two categories of emotional distress.
Two Categories of Emotional Distress
Emotional distress is divided into two categories for which you may file a lawsuit legally. Both are below:
Negligent Infliction of Emotional Suffering (NIED): You may claim NIED if your emotional distress was caused by the negligence of your employer. In this case, you must show that a supervisor or boss behaved negligently or willfully in breach of a statutory obligation, causing you emotional distress.
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED): When you claim IIED, it is tied to an extreme action that is purposeful, usually referred to as “tort of outrage.” As with NIED, you need to establish that your job behaved in a manner that was both on purpose or negligent, as well as extreme, and that it led to your mental health state being compromised.
What If a Co-Worker Caused Your Emotional Distress?
There are some situations where you may be suffering from emotional distress, though the employer may not be directly liable. However, it could still be feasible to file suit against the employer. A circumstance where this will apply is if you were bullied by a co-worker and it caused you mental anguish and told your boss, but he or she did nothing. In a case like this, blame may fall upon your boss and the employer. The company may be held legally accountable for another employee’s conduct if it led to the emotional distress of a co-worker. When an employee acts in a way that causes you emotional anguish, you must establish the following to win your case:
- Your boss was aware of the behavior
- Your boss was aware that the employee’s actions were damaging
- Your boss did not take actions to correct the issue
If an employee has made many complaints about a colleague, the employer may be held legally liable for IIED. This could could situations such as sexual harassment.
What Kinds of Emotional Distress Damages Can You Recover?
Putting a monetary value on emotional distress in the workplace is usually hard to determine. When a case proceeds to trial, the amount will be decided by a jury. The amount will depend on a variety of factors, including how extreme the employer’s actions were, how severe the emotional stress you endured was, and whether the mental distress is continuous or has long-lasting effects.