Not every workplace injury is physical, which is why California’s Department of Workers’ Compensation allows workers to file compensation claims for work-related stress and anxiety.
While we can all relate to the stress that work can bring, especially in the short term around pressing deadlines and big projects, some work-related anxiety and stress can become persistent and, over time, result in significant mental health issues. In addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim for a psychiatric injury due to work-related stress in California, workers may also be entitled to unpaid leave through the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) or the United States Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
This post will discuss the workers’ compensation options available to California workers suffering from work-related stress or anxiety.
How to Receive Workers’ Comp for Stress in California
Workers in California who suffer work-related anxiety and stress can receive workers’ comp benefits in certain situations and circumstances. For anyone diagnosed with a psychiatric or mental disorder requiring treatment, which arose or was made worse due to work, their employer is obliged to provide workers’ comp benefits and hold their job for them while they recover, under state law.
Workers’ comp benefits for stress, anxiety, or other psychiatric injuries may be available to you as long as the following applies:
- You’ve been employed for a minimum of six months.
- You’ve been diagnosed with some psychiatric condition that is outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). Although the DSM-V doesn’t define “stress” as a condition, it can be a symptom of a psychiatric condition like major depression or generalized anxiety disorder.
- You can prove that employment circumstances caused the illness by 51% or more.
- Good faith personnel actions, such as reasonable criticism and decisions about a promotion or raise, were not the cause of your condition.
- The litigation process itself didn’t cause the psychiatric condition.
- Your claim was filed based on a condition after your termination notification unless the employer knew of your injury before termination.
Workplace stress, anxiety, and other psychiatric injuries are serious and real. Still, it will often take more than just a doctor’s note to secure the workers’ compensation you deserve following a work-related psychiatric injury. Aside from detailed testimony from your physician in support of your claim, you may also be asked to provide information about your health history, work record, job satisfaction, conditions in the workplace, and other information. Physician testimony will also need to be supported by any medical records related to the psychiatric injury and testimony from friends, family, co-workers, and other evidence.
CFRA and FMLA Laws Regarding Stress
For workers whose physician determines their stress is a serious health threat but cannot secure California workers’ comp benefits, unpaid leave as well as employment protection are available through CFRA and FMLA. When an employer denies leaves, attempts to shorten leave, or intimidates the employee for taking a leave of absence under these laws, they can be sued for damages.
CFRA and FMLA offer great alternatives for workers whose anxiety or stress is interfering with their ability to work and who need time off but don’t qualify for workers’ compensation because they weren’t diagnosed with a DSM-V mental disorder or psychiatric injury.
How A California Workers’ Comp Attorney Can Help with Stress and Anxiety Workers’ Comp Cases
Having an expert California Workers’ Compensation attorney is crucial to filing a successful workers’ compensation claim, especially for a claim related to work-related stress and anxiety. Proving a psychiatric injury workers’ comp case can be difficult, and the process will be challenging to navigate.
For anyone who has suffered a workplace psychiatric injury in California, an expert workers’ comp lawyer can help to ensure that you receive the maximum coverage available through your workers’ compensation claim.
The workers’ compensation and workplace psychiatric injury attorneys from Aoudi Law can help. The professional staff at Aoudi Law has helped countless California employees get the compensation they deserve for workplace anxiety or stress injuries. If a chronic, stressful work environment has caused a workplace psychiatric injury to you or a family member, Aoudi Law has you covered.
Call or text 714-386-9874 today for a free consultation and learn how we can help you through the challenging California workers’ comp claim process.