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Litigation, P.C. Law Firm
Los Angeles Litigation Law Firm 424-284-2401

Can I Sue My California Employer for Stress, Anxiety, and Emotional Distress?


Many people feel stressed and anxious when working. All that stress and anxiety can build gradually to the point where the worker is suffering from emotional distress or depression. In the worst-case scenario, the person may even develop suicidal thoughts or turn to alcohol or drugs.

If you are feeling stressed at work, you are not alone. According to a survey by the American Institute of Stress, 80 percent of workers report feeling stress at work, and 25 percent say that their job is the No. 1 cause of stress in their life.

Can You Sue Your Employer for Job Stress and Emotional Distress at Work?

Too much stress on the job can have a tremendous impact on your life, which is why many people wonder, “Can I sue my employer for experiencing stress and emotional distress at work?

If you believe that your employer is responsible for causing emotional distress, you may have a right to sue your employer for work stress and its negative effects on your life. Consult with a Los Angeles employment lawyer to explore your legal options.

Types of Emotional Distress

Workplace stress and anxiety often lead to emotional distress. In the eyes of the law, there are two types of emotional distress:

  1. Negligently inflicted emotional distress
  2. Intentionally inflicted emotional distress

If you are a victim of negligently inflicted emotional distress, you can bring a claim against your employer or coworker(s) to demonstrate evidence that they were negligent. You will also have to prove that you suffered emotional distress as a result of their negligence.

If your case involves the intentional infliction of emotional distress, you must also prove that your employer or coworker(s) acted willfully, knowingly, or outrageously.

How to Sue Your Employer for Emotional Distress

If you suffered emotional distress as a result of job stress or because your employer or coworkers acted negligently or intentionally, you may be able to sue them to seek compensation for your damages.

In fact, if a coworker is responsible for causing you emotional distress, the employer may be held responsible when the coworker’s conduct arose out of and in the course of employment. For example, imagine an employer directs an employee to watch surveillance footage to find out who steals items from the workplace, and the employee wrongfully accuses you of theft, causing you emotional distress. In that case, both the employee and employer may be held liable for your emotional distress — and damages.

What do you need to prove to sue your employer for emotional distress? The following elements must be established to hold your employer responsible for emotional distress:

  1. The employer knew or should have known about the harmful conduct that caused emotional distress
  2. The employer knew the conduct was outrageous or harmful
  3. The employer failed to take reasonable steps to stop the conduct or remedy the situation

Often, emotional distress is the result of discrimination, sexual harassment, or other illegal activities on the part of the employer. If that’s the case, you can recover damages for emotional distress through a discrimination, sexual harassment, or other claim against your employer. Also, stress can be caused due to invasion of privacy.

If you believe that your employer caused you emotional distress or you feel too much stress or anxiety at work, consult with our employment lawyer at Litigation, P.C., to determine whether you can sue your employer. Schedule a consultation with our Los Angeles employment lawyer by calling at 424-284-2401.

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