Educate Yourself About Law

Emotional Distress in the Workplace

by Erika Reed

Many professions can result in some form of stress. This is a fact of life, but this stress should not be ongoing, nor should it be overly detrimental to your mental health. This stress can arise from a particularly complicated situation you might face during the normal execution of your duties, whether it's the complexity of a certain task or the volume of the work. To some extent, this is part of the job. But what about when other factors come into play, and your stress can be considered to be emotional distress?

Difficult at Times

Your job might be difficult at times, as is the case with practically any form of employment. Emotional distress can occur when you are regularly asked to perform duties above and beyond the remit of your employment. It can be that you are asked to do a job that is, quite literally, not what you were hired to do.

Hostile Working Environment

The stressful nature of your employment can conceivably be exacerbated by a hostile working environment. This can include an unfair threat of dismissal or disciplinary action and generalised workplace bullying. Prolonged exposure to this type of environment can lead to emotional distress. 

Your Mental Health

Emotional distress can have a hugely adverse effect on your mental health, and this is a price you should not be willing to pay. You can become withdrawn, easily irritated and exist in a constant state of anxiety. These are all behaviours that are out of character for you, and they are behaviours that could be traced back to your working environment.

Proving Emotional Distress

It can be difficult to prove emotional distress, and you should find out whether your employer offers any form of counselling. If not, you might wish to consult a psychiatrist of your own accord. They will be able to assess the severity of your emotional distress, as well as the best course of treatment, whether this is ongoing counselling, or medication or both.

Reporting the Issue

Consulting a mental health professional can be beneficial in terms of treating your issue, as well as solidifying any claim you wish to make against your company. You should follow their internal protocols for reporting such an issue, and they will generally investigate the matter.  

Your Employer

If it's found that you have regularly been asked to perform duties outside the remit of your employment, which has contributed to your emotional distress, your employer should take steps to prevent this from happening again. Likewise, if it has been found that your colleagues and superiors have been emotionally bullying you, they should be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.

Making a Claim

Depending on the severity of your emotional distress, you might wish to make a financial claim. In some instances, this can be assessed by worker's comp in your state or territory. However, if there is any disagreement about the extent of your emotional distress, you reserve the right to engage the services of a law firm in order to take further action against your employer.

Avoidable emotional distress in the workplace is not something that you should have to suffer through, so it's important to know your options. Speak with a representative from a law firm about if you have a case.