Even if you love your job, it can be stressful at times. Stress can be made worse when you have to deal with inappropriate behavior from a co-worker. Emotional distress is a real issue that can result from the repeated outrageous behavior of a co-worker. If you believe that you are suffering from emotional distress, here is what you need to know.
Does It Matter If It is Intentional or Not?
One of the misconceptions about emotional distress claims is that the actions of the liable party have to be intentional. In reality, even if it is unintentional and merely negligence, you still have a right to take legal action. In personal injury law, negligent acts account for a majority of the cases.
To take action, you only need to prove certain elements. As with other personal injury cases, you must show that the actions of your co-worker were harmful, that you suffered harm, and that the harm is directly related to the actions of your co-worker.
What If You Want to Hold Your Employer Responsible?
Your employer has a responsibility to ensure that workers have a safe environment in which to work. If you are suffering from emotional distress, there is a great possibility that your employer shares some of the blame. Whether or not your employer is responsible depends largely on if it was known that you were being victimized by your co-worker.
For instance, if you reported to your manager and the human resources department that your co-worker's actions were causing you stress and the employer failed to act, you could file a claim against the employer. However, if neither the manager or human resources department were aware, you will have a difficult time proving your employer holds some responsibility.
How Do You Prove Your Employer Did Not Act?
One of the most challenging aspects of this type of personal injury case is proving that the employer did not act or did not do enough to stop the co-worker's actions. It is up to you to get as much documentation as possible to back up your claims.
For instance, put your concerns regarding the co-worker in writing. Provide your manager and the human resources department with letters. Ask for a written response to your complaints.
Creating a paper trail will help to prove your claim and increase the chances you winning your claim against your employer and co-worker.
Talk to your lawyer about other ways you can prove your emotional distress claims.