What to Know

Can I Sue My Employer For Emotional Distress in California?

Emotional Distress Lawsuits in Los Angeles, California.

If somebody at work is causing you stress, anxiety or other emotional distress that interferes with your ability to do your job, call us at 888-762-0297 to discuss your case.

Your consultation will be confidential and free.

We represent clients in Los Angeles and throughout the state of California.

Can I Sue My Employer For Emotional Distress?

Where an employer or coworker assaults you, discriminates, retaliates, harasses, or abuses you, it may be possible to bring claims for emotional distress.

In claims where the emotional distress is intentionally caused by someone at work, you need to show that the behavior is so outrageous or extreme that it goes beyond the bounds of all decency, that they meant to cause emotional distress (or just doesn't care if it does), and this behavior ends up causing severe emotional distress.

In cases where emotional distress caused by an employer's or coworker's negligence, if there's no physical injury, you must show that the emotional distress experienced is serious. For negligence cases, serious refers to the kind of emotional distress that no "reasonable person" would be able to cope with. So, more than mere insults, indignities, or annoyances.

There are situations when an employee has the right to sue an employer or their coworkers for inflicting emotional distress in the workplace. An example might include being secretly (without your permission) filmed without clothes while changing in the employee locker room, later finding out that it's been posted on social media by your employer coworker.

To know if you have a legal claim for emotional abuse against a person who is causing your problems, you need to speak with an attorney.

Can I sue my employer for emotional distress?

Yes, it is possible to sue an employer for emotional distress. To sue an employer for emotional distress due to their negligence, in addition to showing you suffered emotional distress, you must also show that your employer didn't fulfill some obligation they had to you. One example could be where your boss hires someone that they know to be violent who poses a real risk of harming others, and you get attacked, or you see a coworker or customer get attacked.

You can also sue your employer for their intentional infliction of emotional distress. For example, where a supervisor makes a willful physical assault or sexually assaults an employee.

Even if the employer was not directly at fault or responsible for the distress caused to the employee, they still could be held liable for the infliction of emotional distress.

Can I sue my supervisor or co-worker for emotional distress?

Yes, when an employee's activity that caused the emotional distress was related to their employment or was approved by their employer, the employer may be held legally liable for the employee's acts and the results of those actions. Additionally, where any supervisor knows about the wrongful behavior of another worker, the employer may be deemed to know about the activity.

If a boss's or coworker's actions take place outside the workplace, but it's part of certain company events, that employer may still be responsible.

How do I sue my employer for emotional distress?

Call us for more information or to know if you have valid legal grounds to file a lawsuit for emotional distress, call our office at 888-762-0297 to discuss your case with a California emotional distress attorney.

How do I prove emotional distress?

In order to bring a suit for intentional emotional distress against an employer, coworker, or boss, there are typically four elements that must be proven:

Your employer (or their agent) acted intentionally and/or recklessly, and

Your employer's (or agent's) conduct was extreme and outrageous, and

Your employer's (or agent's) action resulted in your emotional distress, and

Your emotional distress was severe

Since there are no established standards for what constitutes severe and outrageous behavior, it can be challenging to establish a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. There must be more than just slights, humiliations, or irritations. The more evidence and examples of an employer's or agent's conduct, the better.

As with all harassment, discrimination, or retaliation, documentation could be helpful to prove your claim. Keep track of the date and time of all incidents, the names of all people involved, any eyewitness information, note the frequency of the incidents, and keep track of texts, emails, photos, or videos sent to you.

How much can I sue for in an emotional distress lawsuit?

There is not an exact number or formula for how much a plaintiff can recover in an emotional distress case. In order to collect additional damages for pain and suffering in California, you have to show you have suffered - or will suffer future, harm as a result of what happened.

Damages also include medical expenses incurred based upon how serious the injuries are, any ongoing medical conditions resulting from the incident in question, and other particulars of the case are typically what determine how much emotional distress damages a plaintiff may be able to recover.

If you can show you sought therapy or counseling as a result of what happened, you may be able to receive compensation for the distressing experience overall in addition to the financial expense of the injuries.

Contact an employment lawyer for emotional distress cases in California.

What should I consider before filing a lawsuit against my employer?

The first thing you should ask yourself before filing a lawsuit against your employer is, "Did they actually violate a law and cause me harm?" Being treated unfairly or poor communication may not necessarily be a good enough reason to sue an employer. Furthermore, before filing a lawsuit against your employer, always ensure that there is evidence to support your claim. Without evidence, it is very unlikely that a judge or jury would return a verdict in your favor.

Also, suing for emotional distress may allow for extensive questioning and probing into a person's life. Be sure that you are ready to handle having personal details about your life and situation exposed. Finally, if you still work for the employer or intend to stay on as an employee, it may be best to try to handle the situation outside a courtroom.

We're here to help. Contact a California emotional distress attorney at 888-762-0297 to discuss your situation and go over your options.

Examples of suing an employer for emotional distress

Employees who encounter harassment, discrimination, retaliation or a hostile work environment may experience emotional distress. Emotional distress damages are frequently awarded in lawsuits for wrongful termination, retaliation, and sexual harassment.

Examples include situations such as experiencing emotional distress due to a coworker's sexual harassment, which an employer fails to stop despite repeated reporting of the abuse. The emotional distress that is caused when a job applicant relies upon an employer's fraudulent misrepresentations to try to induce them into becoming an employee. The emotional distress an employee suffers because of an employer's unlawful discrimination. The emotional distress a worker is put through because of an employer's harassment and defamation.

For additional information

Call us at 888-762-0297 to discuss your situation. We are here to help.

Consultations are free.

All cases are taken on contingency. We advance all costs, for which we only are reimbursed if we successfully recover on your behalf.

We represent clients in Los Angeles, Alameda County, Del Norte County, Sacramento, San Diego, San Bernardino, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Orange County, and other California cities.

Last updated on July 11, 2022.

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