A lot of people have very challenging roles in the workplace, and they feel certain pressures from work that they sometimes bring home. We often complain ceaselessly about how stressed we are over projects, over a workmate, over a client, or over our bosses. However, if these stress triggers continue to increase and you begin feeling physical and emotional strains, have symptoms of anxiety, depression, or turn to alcohol more than usual, then it’s time to re-assess if you are being subjected to beyond typical job-related stress.
Excessive work-related stress can potentially become a serious threat to your health. No one should be made to work in an office environment that contributes to a decline in their health. So, can you actually sue your employer for workplace stress?
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Work-Related Stress?
When job stressors persist, they can take their toll on an employee and may result in poor performance, irritability, lack of confidence, and reclusion. Other symptoms that may indicate that an employee is overly stressed at work include:
- Muscle tension and headaches
- Anxiety and depression
- Social withdrawal
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of sex drive
- Loss of interest in work
- Stomach problems
- Trouble concentrating
- Alcohol and drug use
It is important to beat workplace stress before it beats you. Remove the stressors when able, and create avenues to destress, like joining sports activities, reaching out to friends, and leaning on family for support.
With the pandemic and the economic conditions, we are in, it is easy to dismiss the inability to cope with workplace stress as a weakness. Some people even argue that those who have jobs should just be grateful they have a job and silence them from questioning the excessive demands and stress imposed on them.
When is Workplace Stress too Much?
Work stress may be defined as the adverse reaction that people have to excessive work pressure and demands placed on them. A little bit of stress keeps us on our toes and pushes us to stay focused and alert. Some welcome stress as a trigger to increase energy and encourage them to accomplish goals and overcome new challenges at work.
Work-related stress may be caused by:
- Bad working environment
- Excessive overloading of work
- Harassment and bullying
- Extremely long hours at work
- Unmatched skill sets to required outputs
- Ever-increasing demands and targets
- Fear of being laid off
- Job redundancy
- Strained co-worker relationships
- Feelings of an unsafe working environment
When stress levels far exceed your ability to cope, stress points stop being helpful and no longer provide motivational push, they start causing damage to your mind and your body and affect your overall performance and job satisfaction. If work stress is affecting your work output, your personal life, and your health, you need to take immediate action to manage your overall stress level so you can regain a sense of control. While a workers compensation attorney may be your best friend in these cases, take stock of what is before you, find ways to destress, and know when the right situation calls for legal action to be taken.
When Does Work-Related Stress Become Compensable in Minnesota?
Employees who work in Minnesota may be compensated for mental injuries that go along with physical injuries, injuries brought about by mental stress, and PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. Physical injuries are so much easier to prove and to claim compensation. However, work-related mental disorders are oftentimes overlooked and disregarded. Mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD affect more workers than we care to realize.
In Minnesota, workers are protected by law and may seek compensation benefits for these mental injuries and disorders. But, before you send out an SOS to a workers compensation attorney in MN, you need to understand that these types of injuries need to meet specific criteria. The state’s law provides protection and compensation for three types of mental injuries: physical-mental, mental-physical, and mental-mental injuries. Again, they need to be identified and qualified based on specific yardsticks and standards.
Compensable Mental and Mixed Mental and Physical Injuries
In previous years, workers who developed PTSD and other mental disorders caused by traumatic experiences at work and overly stressful working conditions were not qualified to claim compensation benefits. Fortunately, the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act was amended and workers who developed PTSD on or after October 1, 2013, are now entitled to compensation benefits.
PTSD must develop as a result of job-related activities to be able to qualify for compensation benefits. Employees who develop PTSD from actions of good faith of employers may not file for claims. The following are situations that may likewise cause PTSD but are not compensable:
- Job reassignments
- Performance assessments
- Disciplinary actions and sanctions
Claims can be made by workers who had work-induced physical injuries that gave rise to mental disorders, such as the case when employees suffer depression from massive physical injuries that inhibit them from working or living normally for extended periods of time. Others may develop PTSD after a traumatic workplace accident. These are compensable if the physical injuries contributed greatly to the development of mental disorders.
On the flip side, workers may also suffer physical injuries brought about by excessive mental stress. This is harder to prove and you will certainly need the help of the best law firm for workers compensation in Minnesota to win the case and prove that work stress directly caused the physical injury.
Seek Professional Relief and Guidance
When in doubt, seek professional help. If it is difficult to determine on your own whether your situation is eligible for compensation benefits, seek the help of the best law firm for workers compensation in Minnesota to enlighten and guide you. Be open and honest about your demands and expectations and clearly provide the sequence of events that led to your current situation.
Osterbauer Law Firm and their pool of professional workers compensation attorneys in MN can provide free, no-obligation consultations for work-related injuries and they can meet with you, do a phone consultation, and even travel to see you. These professionals can work through the process with you with ease and convenience and ensure you get all the benefits you deserve.
You never have to face work injuries alone. Reach out now to someone who can help.