worker dealing with stress and anxiety

Can I Sue My Employer for Stress and Anxiety?

Most employees experience periods of stress or anxiety in their workplace. For some professions or jobs, the expected level of workplace stress is high. The requirements of the job and/or the work environment could increase the chance that workers might experience high levels of stress and anxiety. However, when workplace stress is caused by more than the ordinary demands of the job, a worker may have a claim against the employer.

Before filing a workers’ compensation claim or a lawsuit against your employer, you might want to consult a Washington employment law attorney. Learning about your legal rights and your options for holding an employer responsible for negligence or wrongdoing before you act is the best way to protect your best interests. 

Workers’ Compensation Claims for Stress and Anxiety 

You cannot sue your employer for workplace injuries or illnesses covered by workers’ compensation or Industrial Insurance in most cases. Your only recourse is to file a Labor & Industries claim. 

Mental health conditions can be covered by L&I insurance. However, it is rare and you must prove that the anxiety and stress result from a mental health condition caused by your employment. The condition must also be severe enough to impair your ability to work. 

It can be challenging to prove that your work caused your stress and anxiety. Unless there is a traumatic event or other situation that could cause extreme anxiety and stress, your claim will likely be denied. Seeking mental health treatment and legal counsel as soon as you experience symptoms that impact your job is crucial.

Filing a Lawsuit Against Your Employer for Stress and Anxiety

The other option is to file a lawsuit against your employer seeking compensation for damages for a personal injury claim. A lawsuit against your employer for anxiety and stress could involve two types of claims.

If your employer negligently caused your stress and anxiety, you might file a lawsuit claiming Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress. You would need to prove that your employer acted negligently or violated a duty of care, which resulted in your anxiety and stress. 

The other claim involving anxiety and stress would be a claim for Intentional Inflection of Emotional Distress. You would need to prove that your employer acted recklessly or intentionally to cause you stress and anxiety.

In some cases, you could sue the employer if another employee caused emotional distress. You would need to establish that your employer knew of the employee’s conduct and that the conduct was harmful, but failed to take any action to resolve the problem. For example, you made several complaints about sexual harassment or discrimination by a supervisor, but your employer failed to investigate the complaints or stop the harmful conduct.

Contact a Washington Employment Law Attorney for Help

Proving that your employer is responsible for your stress and anxiety can be challenging. However, that does not mean that you need to suffer without taking action. Talk to our Washington Employment Law Attorney to discuss your case. Learn about your legal rights and your options for holding your employer liable for damages caused by stress and anxiety. Contact our office today.