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Workplace Harassment and Intentional Infliction of Nervous Shock Damages

Whitten and Lublin | Feb 16, 2018

When claiming the tort of intentional infliction of nervous shock against an individual, it must be proven that the act was intentional and that there was mental and/or physical suffering. It does not matter, however, if there was an intention to cause intentional infliction or nervous shock. There simply only needs to be proof that the actions caused infliction of nervous shock.

In the workplace, this can take the form of harassment, bullying, and/or violence (including verbal threats). A case that demonstrates infliction of mental suffering due to workplace harassment includes a 1993 case of Boothman v Canada. Ms. Boothman was harassed by her supervisor, which included acts of yelling, verbal insults, threats of bodily harm and dismissal, and other insensitive acts that caused Ms. Boothman to cry. After having left her employment, Ms. Boothman sought damages for intentional infliction of nervous shock. The court maintained that Ms. Boothman’s supervisor intentionally harassed, humiliated, and assaulted Ms. Boothman to inflict mental pain. Ms. Boothman was awarded $5000 for pain and suffering and $20 000 for lost earnings.

If you are an employee that has left your job due to excessive harassment, it is important to seek legal consultation. Not only may you be entitled to termination pay, but there also may be additional damages due to separate actions that have caused you harm or distress. Whitten and Lublin have a team of experienced employment lawyers that will ensure you are fairly compensated.

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