Hostile Work Environments and Claims of Mental Injury
Workers who suffer physical injury in the workplace can seek workers’ compensation for their injuries. But what about those employees who suffer emotional injury in a hostile work environment? Do they have a legal claim for workers’ compensation benefits for their mental injury as a result of harassment? While workplace discrimination is considered illegal, filing legal claims for workers’ compensation benefits for mental injury can be challenging.
Harassment and a hostile work environment
Harassment constitutes employment discrimination and it violates several laws including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age of Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, harassment is unwelcome conduct that is attributed to race, religion, color, gender, age, national origin, disability, or genetic information. Harassment is considered unlawful when the conduct is severe enough to create a hostile work environment.
What constitutes offensive conduct in the workplace?
Legally speaking, offensive conduct and behavior can include, among other things: offensive jokes, name calling, insults, intimidation, offensive slurs, pictures or objects, and physical assault or threats. Workplace harassment effects not only the individual that is being discriminated against; it can also negatively impact anyone else effected by the offensive conduct and those individuals can be considered victims.
Workers’ compensation and mental injury claims in Florida
When an employee is injured on the job, the physical injury sustained is often plain to see. When an employee suffers a mental injury, evidence of the injury is more difficult to substantiate. Mental conditions that are related to employment are covered by workers’ compensation. For example, an employee who experiences trauma as a result of witnessing another employee’s injury in the workplace can receive compensation for that trauma. Conditions that are the result of a stressful workplace environment are also covered by workers’ compensation. Proving that the mental condition exists – and that it did not exist before — can be challenging. Proving that the condition was caused by a hostile work environment can be even more complex.
Receiving compensation for mental injury from a hostile work environment in Florida
Even though it is against the law, workplace discrimination and harassment affects millions of American workers every day. If you have suffered mental injury as a result of a hostile work environment, it is important to seek an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to explore your situation and guide you on the best path to receiving compensation for your condition.
New Port Richey workers’ compensation attorney Joseph M. Rooth has been dedicated to helping injured and disabled workers for more than 20 years. Compassionate and knowledgeable, attorney Rooth handles each case personally as he serves clients throughout the Tampa Bay area. Call attorney Rooth today at 727-849-3400 to discuss your situation or arrange a confidential consultation online. Convenient office locations in Spring Hill, Seminole New Port Richey, and Clearwater.