Work Stressors that Can Cause Psychiatric/Stress Claims: What Work Events and Environments that cause Workers’ Compensation Psychiatric/Stress Claims: What You Need to Know

The State of California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) propounded information for Employers concerning the prevention of work-related psychiatric injuries or psychiatric workers’ compensation claims. The Labor Code requires that Employers be provided information concerning psychiatric injury prevention programs when a claim has been filed against them. See Per Labor Code 3208.3 (i.)

Psychiatric Injuries Can Take Various Forms: Both Mental and Physical

The DIR notes that Psychiatric Injuries are Compensable under California Law California law. This permits compensation for a wide range of disabilities resulting from job-related mental stress. It also notes that psychological stress may produce mental disorders, physical disorders or both.

The DIR Believes in Increased Standard to Prove Psychiatric Injuries 

In their information, the DIR notes that changes in the law have tightened eligibility and created a higher threshold of evidence in proving cases of mental stress-related disability. The DIR notes that psychiatric stress cases involve expensive litigation, further, the costs of providing treatment, evaluation, and compensation can be extremely high.

As an Injured Worker, How Will This Article Help You?

This article provided insight as to what the State of California perceives as the causes of work-related psychiatric injuries. It also provides insight as to work-related psychiatric causes of injuries. I have taken the opportunity to proverbially “flip the switch” on the State of California’s position and fashion them towards the needs of the Injured Worker. As a result, this article provides an explanation of what Employers do to create psychiatric or stress claims or create environments in the workplace which are conducive to workers’ compensation claims.

What Are Stressors at Work That Can Cause Psychiatric Injuries?


Based on the article, the following are stressors and other work activities and environments that can be the basis for psychiatric workers’ compensation claims & injuries:

  • In the event of traumatic, violent or frightening events, failure of the Employer to provide critical incident debriefings and training as soon as possible after the incident.
  • In the event of traumatic, violent or frightening events, failure of the Employer to provide post-trauma support groups and individual counseling
  • In the event of workplace changes, failure of the Employer to provide effective communication with employees through newsletters, staff meetings, and individual communication from supervisors to workers.
  • Failure of the Employer to establish internal complaint procedures and informal dispute resolution systems. These procedures/systems would give employees outlets for getting their concerns heard and addressed. Failure to solicit input from employees, both formally and informally, about ways to make the work environment more productive and less stressful.
  • Failure of the Employer to improve the management of job-related injury cases so that physical injuries do not lead to psychiatric stress injuries as well.
  • Failure of the Employer to effectively deal with employees with pre-existing mental problems or stress issues that may be subject to complications at the workplace.
  • Failure of the Employer to provide support for injured workers doing modified duty adjustments and rehabilitation. This can include in failing to assist injured workers in resolving problems or personal issues that do not directly relate to the injury but can impact on the employee readiness to return to work.
  • Failure of the Employer to implement confidential employee assistance programs that acknowledge the interrelationship of work and family problems and failing to encourage stressed employees to seek help.
  • Employers having Managers and supervisors that are not/or improperly trained on the basics of effective supervision.
  • Employers setting up unrealistic goals for workers.
  • The Employer not providing Workers the resources and authority to meet assigned responsibilities.
  • The Employer not allowing individuals an opportunity to have input on actions that affect their jobs.
  • The Employer failing to monitor and document workers’ performance.
  • The Employer failing to let workers know how they are doing and what the expectations are for improvement.
  • The Employer failing to reinforce and reward good job performance.
  • The Employer failing to work on successful resolution efforts of employee conflicts.
  • The Employer failing to maintain confidentiality in the workplace.
  • The Employer failing to use constructive confrontation of troubled employees.
  • The Employer failing to identify and address behavior patterns that may indicate problems that require professional assistance.
  • The Employer failing to make effective referrals to employee assistance programs.
  • The Employer failing to comply with legal restrictions against any form of sexual harassment or discrimination.
  • The Employer failing to inform employees need to know what changes are coming in the organization, especially around job transfers or reduction, changes in workload, changes in supervisors. and
  • The Employer failing to advise workers where to go to for help such as Employee Assistance Programs, Ombudsperson, Family Counselors, Union Representatives, Support Groups, and other confidential sources.

What Should I Do Some of These Things Listed Happened to Me And Are Causing Me Stress and Emotional Problems? 


You should consider filing a workers’ compensation claim. Due to the complexity of the cases, I would recommend that you consult both physicians/psychologists and lawyers to confirm whether you have a valid case to proceed upon. Further, a determination should be made as to whether pursuing a psyche claim would be in your best interest. The decision to pursue psychiatric workers’ compensation claim should not be taken lightly.

Where Can I Get Legal Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. They have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their worker’s compensation cases for 26 years. Contact us today for more information.