California is one of the most protective states when it comes to its workers. It expands on all the protected classes the Federal government lists. It ensures that there are options available for those who have been discriminated against or were targeted. One such consequence at work is the intentional infliction of emotional distress. California Intentional & Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress laws dictate that victimized employees can pursue compensation from their employers if they were harassed to the point that they would suffer emotional distress. However, it is not easy to win these types of claims, especially if you have never taken any legal action before. This is where the California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group comes in. We have years of experience with such claims and know the bet methods to succeed.
What is Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress?
The intentional infliction of emotional distress is illegal in California. It is defined as conduct carried out by an employer that is outrageous, and it must either be intentional or carried out with reckless disregard or apathy as to the likelihood that the employee would suffer serious emotional distress.
The behavior of your employer must have been completely inappropriate and out of line and would be considered out of line regardless of context. For example, he could have made a constant litany of racist remarks or insults about a deceased spouse in order to anger you. It must have been deliberately delivered to cause severe emotional trauma, or indifferent to the chance of the trauma occurring. It can also be the true reason you suffered such distress.
It is important to understand these characteristics and differences. If you were simply insulted at work or your employer made an offensive statement about a belief you hold, you will not be able to sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The law does not protect against these statements in this way.
Identifying the behavior as outrageous can be done by showing a pattern of behavior or repeated events. It is less likely for a claim to succeed if the incident occurred only once. The employer may also have drastically abused his position of authority or used the threat of firing you to further control you. Employers may also use a victim’s emotional state of vulnerability, especially in the wake of certain tragic events, to cause the distress.
Examples of such behavior include:
- Routine humiliation and shaming for your age, weight, sexual orientation, gender, life circumstances, relationships, personal incidents, and more
- Targeted for vulgar words, harsh insults, acts of violence, threats, and more
- Constantly disciplined, demoted, made an example of, and used as a scapegoat for the shortcomings or failures of the company or department
- Victimized by slurs, hate speech, and more
You should not stand for such treatment at your job. The workplace is not a location where you should be targeted and made to feel unsafe. You can fight back with the help of our employment attorneys.
Emotional Distress of a Bystander
It is not always the case that victims have to be the targets of the actions, harassment, or cruelty. Bystanders who saw the incident occur can also be severely affected. This is most common when an individual is killed or dies in an accident, or, more rarely, with other acts of violence or hate. Bystanders must prove four points to sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress:
- The defendant negligently or intentionally caused injury or death to the victim
- The bystander was present at the location of the incident
- The bystander knew that the incident was resulting in injury or death
- The bystander sustained intense emotional distress from witnessing the incident unfold
This is not the most common claim present in the workplace, but it can still arise.
Proving Intentional Infliction Of Emotional Distress In The Workplace
In order to prove that you were intentionally inflicted with emotional distress, you will need evidence of the incidents. Acquiring this evidence can be hard at times, especially if you have to deliberately subject yourself to the harsh treatment for longer than you should. Some of the evidence you can acquire includes:
- Emails that contained harsh language directed to you or that were about you and sent to a large group
- Notes that were disparaging
- Voice memos or recordings, such as voicemails and meetings, that highlight the verbal abuse you suffered
- Security footage from the company showing the abuse happen (although this will be very difficult to get, as the company will not want to do anything or hand over anything that could potentially incriminate it and show its guilt)
- A journal that you kept detailing all the important facts about the abuse, from the people involved to the things that were said, the location and dates, and more
- Psychiatric testimony, if you needed to visit a psychiatrist or psychologist
- Coworker testimony if your coworkers saw the abuse or harassment happen (but this can also be very difficult to get, as many coworkers will not want to risk retaliation or being targeted themselves, and if they speak out against the company, there is no telling what they will go through or if they will even have a job anymore)
- Client or customer testimony if there were such individuals in the workplace when the abuse was occurring
- Proof of ways in which your work was disturbed, such as changed time cards, denials of vacation or sick time, demotions, negative performance reviews, and more
It is important that you first go to Human Resources to file a complaint, but this may not always be the wise choice. HR, after all, is there to protect the company, and a complaint may not make it very far.
Upon gathering all of your evidence, you should speak with an employer lawyer in Los Angeles who can hire handle your claim. We will be able to hire expert witnesses, organize your evidence, and prove that you were victimized at work.
Value Of An Emotional Distress Lawsuit
Your emotional distress lawsuit can be worth a fair amount of money, especially if it culminated in physical violence or assault. The insurance agent will measure the extent of the damages you suffered and make an offer. The problematic thing about emotional distress claims is that the insurance agent will not be able to quantify the damage, unlike with property damage or medical expenses. We will negotiate to ensure that your losses are fully recouped, including coverage for:
- Cost of counseling, psychiatric appointments, psychologist visits, and more
- Medication, prescriptions, and other drug usage
- Treatments, therapies, and more
- Pain and suffering damages for emotional anxiety, PTSD, fear, psychological scarring, mental trauma, and more
- Lost income, commissions, bonuses, tips, and other wages if you were unable to continue your work or if you were fired after the incident
- Reinstatement if you were wrongfully terminated
It is our goal to bring you the maximum settlement available under the law. We will not stop until we are satisfied with the results of your claim.
Statute of Limitations on Emotional Distress Claims
In California, you have 2 years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit against your employer for infliction of emotional distress. If you do not file a claim within this time period, you will not be able to receive any compensation and will be barred from pursuing a claim in the future. You should always sue as quickly as possible after you have gathered your evidence to ensure that it does not get corrupted or lost, and so that all memories and accounts are still fresh and accurate.
The main reason that individuals fail to get the compensation they deserve is due to not acknowledging the statute of limitations. They often come to law firms too late or do not even know in the first place that there is a time limit.
If you have been abused at work and wish to file a claim citing emotional distress, come to our law offices today. We will ensure that your case is filed on time and that you miss out on no deadlines at all.
How We Help
The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group is one of the premier employment firms in Los Angeles. We have years of combined experience under our belts and our attorneys have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in restitution for our clients. We know the best methods for success and will aggressively hunt for your rightful compensation. If we have to go to court to fight your employer, we are willing to go.
For a free legal consultation to discuss your claim, contact our law firm today. All consultations are totally confidential, and you can reach us any time of day. We will answer all your questions and help you understand the value of your case and how to proceed. If you hire us, we’ll grant you our zero fee guarantee. You won’t have to spend a dime of your own money to litigate the case – we will cover the costs, and if we win, the settlement reimburses us. If we lose, we take no payment at all.
Contact the California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group today to sue your employer for the intentional infliction of emotional distress.