How to Prove Emotional Distress at Work

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Emotional distress can strike anyone, anywhere, so it is important to recognize when you are in the midst of being pressured, harassed, scared, guilted, or abused. There is a big emphasis on people recognizing and caring for physical damages, and sadly a lack of concern over the damages done internally.


The workplace is certainly no exception, and people have been subjected to improper behavior and emotional damages in the place where they thought would be a professional setting. Determining this as a toxic environment can help solve the problem and help you resume your life and your career again. If you are dealing with emotional distress in the workplace, here is how you can prove it.

1. Identify the Individual(s) or Causes

The first step you need to do is identify all of the people or causes for emotional distress. It could be your boss or manager, it could be a coworker, it could be multiple coworkers, or it could be a repeat client or customer. It could also be a subjective or abstract cause, such as a deadline being unreasonable, which is intended to cause you stress. Finding the root cause of emotional distress will help you build a cause to prove that you are being mistreated in the workplace.

2. Compile Evidence to Prove the Distress

Next, you need to be able to prove that this is impacting your life. Using witness accounts from other coworkers, bosses, and even security camera footage of threatening or abusive emotional behavior will help you prove that you are being subjected to unfair treatment. If you are suffering from changes to your behavior or mental state, such as lack of sleep, then talk to your doctor to get a diagnosis. Their word will be stronger than just your own because they can prove your distress is having an adverse effect on your health.

3. Seek Out Legal Help

If you feel like you are ready to proceed with a case against them legally, you should contact professional services. The lawyers at would recommend getting guidance because this is a tough situation, evidenced by the need for proof against those causing you this distress. In a subjective incident like this, it is always good to have support in your corner to guide you through the process of making a claim and pursuing damages if the emotional distress is serious to the point it is impacting your ability to live a normal, healthy lifestyle.

4. Notify HR or Relevant Groups

At the same time as seeking out legal help, you want to notify the representative bodies of your workplace. For office jobs or professional fields, this means talking to HR (human resources) about how to best protect you from the employer, coworkers, groups, or problems that are befalling you. For jobs in more blue-collar sectors, you may have a union representative that you can talk to to help protect you and file a claim within the workplace. No matter the industry or job, there is always a group or representative that is available to help you.

5. Form a Claim

Once you have compiled the evidence, proven your emotional distress is legitimate, and contacted the right help, you need to formally file a claim. If you want to keep this within the workplace, it will be done through HR or an equivalent group, but if you want to file a legal claim against the perpetrator(s), you need to also file the claim at work as well. These groups or legal guidance will help walk you through the documentation and paperwork you will need to collect and present, like doctors’ notes/diagnoses, and help organize it all with you.

6. Go to Court

This step may be unnecessary depending on how the proceedings go, but the court could be something you may be expected to attend. Sometimes a workplace will provide a settlement as well as discharging or removing the party involved from your workplace, but there are times when they will not budge, and the court is where the claim will be settled. Again, with the help of your legal guidance, they can walk you through everything you need to know and where they will be helping. Filing this claim and suing for damages will be the last step towards receiving some justice for the distress caused to you.


The workplace is not always the most enjoyable environment, but no one should have to live in fear of going in to work every day, expecting to be emotionally tormented, abused, or harassed. There is no place for that in society, so you should follow these steps to prove the damages done to you and bring those at-fault to justice.

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