Can You Sue a Toxic Workplace in California For Emotional Damages?

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Work can be stressful sometimes, but there is such a thing as a toxic workplace. When a workplace becomes toxic, this can lead to significant emotional and psychological stress for workers. Not every toxic workplace revolves around illegal activity, but if the employer was negligent or intentionally inflicted emotional distress, California workers may be able to recover compensation for their losses. Here, we want to discuss the process of recovering compensation for a toxic work environment that causes emotional distress.

What is Workplace Emotional Distress?

Workplace emotional distress can arise in a variety of ways, usually as a result of the employee being involved in a traumatic incident, in the close vicinity of a traumatic incident, or having to put up with extremely unfair workplace conditions. This can include discrimination, harassment, retaliation, defamation, etc.

Workplace emotional distress can result in a variety of feelings and lead to poor health consequences. Some of these feelings can include:

  • Depression
  • Self-harming thoughts
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Shame and humiliation
  • Insomnia

Unfortunately, prolonged workplace emotional distress could result in a person experiencing physical illnesses, disturbances to their nervous system, high blood pressure, cardiovascular issues, and more.

Filing a Lawsuit Against an Employer for Emotional Distress

You may wonder whether or not you can file a lawsuit against your employer for your emotional distress. This may be possible if the emotional distress was caused by the negligent actions or the intentional actions of someone else. Please understand that this is a very complex legal matter, and it is crucial to work with an attorney to help recover compensation.

There are two types of emotional distress that you may be able to recover compensation for:

  • Negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED). This includes emotional distress caused by some type of negligent behavior on the part of the employer. It must be shown that someone in the workplace engaged in negligent conduct or a willful violation of their statutory duty and that the victim suffered severe mental anguish as a result of being in the vicinity of this negligent conduct or willful violation.
  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED). This includes emotional distress caused by a coworker or supervisor’s intentional actions. In order to prove this type of infliction of emotional distress, it will need to be shown that the employer or agent acted recklessly or intentionally, that their conduct was extreme and outrageous, and that the actions directly led to the victim’s emotional distress.

If you or somebody you care about has sustained some type of emotional distress as a result of the workplace or a co-worker, reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. An employment law attorney will examine the claim and help recover compensation for your losses. Proving workplace emotional distress is more challenging if there is no actual physical injury that resulted from the employer’s negligence or intentional actions. The general rule of thumb is that victims are not able to recover compensation if the defendant has not actually caused them physical harm.

Please reach out to a Long Beach worker’s compensation attorney for a free consultation of your case to determine the best steps moving forward for your particular situation.