Whether you are working long hours each week or meeting important deadlines, stress is sometimes part of the job. However, ongoing stress and anxiety on the job can lead to severe psychiatric issues.
But are stressed-out employees eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in California? Although state workers’ comp law doesn’t address stress-related leave, it is possible to receive benefits if workplace stress is caused a psychiatric injury or mental health disorder as requires treatment.
According to California Labor Code 3208.3, your psychiatric injury may qualify for workers’ comp benefits if you meet the following qualifications:
- You have been employed for at least six months
- The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) lists your psychiatric injury
- A healthcare provider diagnosed your injury and you received medical treatment
- You can demonstrate that actual workplace events were the main cause of your injury (by at least 51 percent)
- The litigation process didn’t cause your injury
However, your claim could be denied if your employer didn’t cause your injury in good faith (e.g. decisions of promotions or raises, criticism of your work performance, a change in work duties, etc.), or you filed a workers’ comp claim based on the injury after you were terminated, unless your employer was area injury before firing you.
On top of the rigorous requirements to prove a work-related psychiatric injury, the benefits you will receive are limited compared to having a physical injury. Although you will your medical bills and lost wages are covered, attempting to obtain permanent disability benefits can be more challenging.
If you are unable to receive workers’ comp benefits for stress, you can still receive unpaid leave and job protection through the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). If your employer attempts to shorten or deny your leave, you could hold them liable for damages.
If you are interested to know if you are eligible for workers’ compensation based on workplace stress in San Jose, contact the Law Offices of Andrew B. Shin today at (408) 709-7317 and schedule a free case review.