can you sue your job for emotional distress

can you sue your job for emotional distress

Can You Sue Your Job for Emotional Distress?

Many people experience unpleasant work-related situations that result in emotional distress. If this emotional distress is severe enough, you may be wondering if it is possible to sue your job for causing it.

The Definition of Emotional Distress

Emotional distress is often described as a subjective emotional suffering that can include distressful or traumatic emotional states such as severe depression, anxiety, humiliation and disempowerment.

Is It Possible to Sue Your Job?

The answer to this question is: it depends. Generally, in order to successfully sue your job for emotional distress, the following criteria must be met:

  • Intentional Act: the action that caused the emotional distress must have been deliberately committed by your employer (i.e. not accidental).
  • Extreme or Outrageous: the action must be considered to be extremely or outrageously offensive or insulting.
  • Severe Emotional Distress: the action must have caused serious emotional distress that is more than just unpleasant emotions.
  • Mental Damage: the emotional distress must have caused mental damage or illness.

What kind of Damages are Available?

If the criteria for a lawsuit are met, the damages that may be awarded are typically economic losses (such as lost wages and medical expenses) as well as non-economic losses (such as pain and suffering). Depending on the situation, punitive damages may also be awarded – that is, damages that are intended to punish the employer for their actions.


Emotional distress can have a significant impact on an individual’s life, and in some cases it may be possible to sue your job for causing it. However, it is important to be aware that winning a lawsuit can be difficult – and there may be other legal or administrative remedies available that are more appropriate. Therefore, it is recommended that a qualified lawyer be consulted before taking any legal action.


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