Question: Hi, Alan. I have been emotionally injured from a hostile environment at work. Any lawyer I discuss this with says, “Injured on the job – you can’t do anything other than see a Workers Compensation lawyer.” Would I have a Workers Compensation claim, or any other kind of claim? Anything else I can do.
Answer: I’m not a Workers Compensation specialist, but I do believe that, if you have suffered any kind of injury related to your workplace, you cannot sue your employer, but can find compensation for your medical expenses and missed work from the Workers Compensation system of your state. I do not believe “injury” under Workers Compensation is limited to “physical injury.” The two issues are generally (1) Is it an injury?, and (2) Is it related to your workplace? If, as a result of your emotional injury, you incurred medical bills, missed work, or suffered other tangible, related expense, you surely would seem to have a Workers Compensation claim.
If you are looking for other kinds of redress, besides “suing,” you are not limited to Workers Compensation, but have the “world of negotiation” available to you. Through “negotiation” you have many, many options, limited only by your imagination and creativity.
What do I mean? You might be able to achieve different kinds of “redress” through “negotiation” with your employer, perhaps including (a) a reassignment to a different boss or department, (b) extended vacation, (c) higher wages or bonus for “combat pay,” (d) a cash settlement, (e) a new “Code of Civility” initiated, (f) perhaps even having the “hostile one” fired. If any of these are more attractive than a lawsuit, you can “negotiate” these yourself, or with the guidance and counsel of a good attorney or non-attorney advocate.
These kinds of “recourse” are often far more “curative” for emotional injuries than is a check in the mail two years later.
If this “avenue of recourse” is of interest to you, peruse our blogsite, and I believe you’ll find lots of pointers to get you on your way.
Best, Al Sklover
© 2009 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.