Psychiatric stress is a growing epidemic in the United States and throughout California, which is why several states have begun to take measures to combat it. One such measure is allowing workers to collect workers’ compensation benefits for stress and other psychiatric injuries.
According to the State of California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Workers’ Compensation, California law permits compensation for a wide variety of disabilities and conditions that are the direct result of job-related stress. It is not uncommon for stress to lead to more serious mental conditions, physical disorders, injuries or all three.
Though California law does permit employees to recover benefits for psychiatric-related injuries, it has tightened eligibility requirements and created a higher threshold of evidence. The state did this to prevent workers from taking advantage of the more than generous rights state law affords them. Now, if you wish to qualify for workers’ compensation for a stress-related injury, you must show that your psychiatric stress injury is not the result of normal personnel actions. Moreover, you must show that you worked for your employer for at least six months to claim cumulative stress injuries.
Stress-related injuries are costly for both the employee and the employer. For this reason, the state provides recommendations for actions employers should take following the receipt of stress-related claims. When workplace changes are on the horizon, employers can reduce the stress they cause by ensuring effective communication throughout the entire organization.
Employers should implement confidential employee assistance programs that encourage workers to seek help when their work and family lives become overwhelming. The state also suggests that firms implement effective methods for dealing with workers who have pre-existing mental problems or stress-related issues.
Finally, employers should learn how to better manage job-related injury cases to prevent physical injuries from developing into psychiatric ones. This may involve adjusting an employee’s workload and providing rehabilitation assistance.
This article is for educational purposes only. You should not use it as legal advice.