Workplace Stress: How Can the Law Help?

Several studies have attested the fact that the workplace is a major source of stress for American adults. The World Health Organization finds that workers who are stressed are more likely to be less productive, demotivated, unhealthy, less safe, and at risk for depression and anxiety disorders. Some of the main causes of workplace stress are lack of job security, people issues, workload, and inability to juggle work and personal life. Unfortunately, wellness programs in companies do not generally reduce workplace stress.

How can the law help address workplace stress?

Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). The general duty clause of the OSHA requires every employer to “furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.” This clause aims to address workplace violence, but wellness professionals can also use this clause when looking more closely to the employees’ work environment and taking action to minimize stress at work.

Workers’ Compensation Laws. Physical injury is usually the ground for compensation cases. However, there are also cases in which the employee died or was injured due to a stressful work environment. In California, you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits for psychiatric injuries. Such claims must be supported by a detailed testimony from a doctor. The injured employee must prove that actual events in the workplace are the predominantly caused the stress and injury.

Stress Leave. A stress leave is a viable option for an employee if workplace stress already interferes with productivity ad performance at work. Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), an employee can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. The employer can be sued for refusing to take an employee back after the leave or prohibit an employee from taking a stress leave.

Here are a few tips on managing workplace stress:

  • Take regular breaks during your shift. Stretch, walk around, or have a short chat with a coworker.
  • Join stress-management webinars and wellness programs such as meditation, yoga, and fitness clubs.
  • Make sure to take time off from work once in a while – finish a personal project, take a vacation, or stay at home and do nothing related to work.
  • Seek the help of your immediate manager or the HR department. If the cause of stress is heavy workload, seek clarification of your roles and responsibilities, or ask if you can have support or training. You can also request for a more flexible work arrangement such as telecommuting or remote work.
  • If an employer refuses to take action to remove job-related stressors after you have spoken to them, you can seek the help of an employment lawyer in filing a complaint.
  • If you are unable to resolve matters with your employer, but do not wish to file a lawsuit, keep in mind that you have the option to leave. Your mental health must be your top priority.

Contact us at Hogan Injury for expert legal advice.

Hogan Injury, an official partner of Neuts on content collaboration, represents Plaintiffs in personal injury claims and litigation related to third-party liability events (TPL).

None of the content on Hoganinjury.com is legal advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified lawyer. Please consult a legal professional for further information.

Employees with Depression: What are their legal rights?

Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States, with around 16 million Americans suffering from it every year. If you suffer from depression, you may be wondering what your rights are when applying for a job and when you are up for promotion – what laws protect you and when to hold your company liable.

What constitutes a disability?

A person qualifies as disabled if (1) he or she has a physical or mental impairment that significantly limits one or more major life activities or bodily functions; (2) has a history of the impairment; and (3) is regarded as having the impairment.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which took effect on 1992, prevents private employers, employment agencies, state and local governments, and labor unions from discriminating against people with disabilities. Businesses with 15 or more employees are required to comply with the ADA.

In 2008, significant changes were made to the ADA, which expanded the definition of “disability.” These changes made it possible for people with “invisible” disabilities such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety to be protected.

Under the ADA, you are protected against discrimination and harassment because of your condition. You also have workplace privacy rights and the legal right to acquire reasonable accommodation that will help you perform and keep your job.

Workplace Privacy Rights

You can keep your condition private in most situations. Your employer can only ask medical questions under certain conditions such as the following:

  • When there is substantial evidence that the impairment keeps you from doing your job or poses a safety risk.
  • After getting a job offer and before employment begins – provided that all applicants in the same category are asked the same question
  • In case of affirmative action for people with disabilities – for example, a public sector employer considering whether special hiring rules may apply
  • When you ask for reasonable accommodation

Reasonable Accommodation

Under the ADA, employers are required to give reasonable accommodation for employees with a known disability, as long as it does not create undue hardship for the company such as substantial difficulty or expense.

For people with depression, reasonable accommodation can come in the form of flexible work schedules, job sharing options, time off for therapy sessions and support group meetings, extended leave after a hospitalization, periodical opportunity to work from home, to name a few.

You can get reasonable accommodation for a mental health condition that would, if left untreated, “substantially limit” your ability to concentrate, communicate, sleep, eat, interact with others, and other major life activities. Note that your condition does not need to be permanent for it to be substantially limiting – what matters is how limiting they would be when the symptoms are present.

When you ask for reasonable accommodation, your employer may ask you to put the request in writing, as well as generally describe your condition. They may also ask you to provide a letter from your health care provider documenting that you have a mental health condition and that you are in need of reasonable accommodation for it.

Contact us at Hogan Injury for expert legal advice.

Hogan Injury, an official partner of Neuts on content collaboration, represents Plaintiffs in personal injury claims and litigation related to third-party liability events (TPL).

None of the content on Hoganinjury.com is legal advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified lawyer. Please consult a legal professional for further information.

Apple has been busy…

Implications for Apple’s competitors and how they are likely to respond

  1. Massive promotion of competitors’ latest products - including showcasing products’ features and their qualities.
  2. Apple’s new releases have some outstanding features such as 512GB storage space, A12 Bioconic Chip, classy and equally expensive- a factor seen sometimes as a sign of class, quality and convenience. This may prompt reaction from competitors to either design new products or modify existing ones to ‘catch up’ or beat the ones released by Apple.
  3. Samsung just released its latest, Samsung S9, not over a year ago. We see a season of continuous innovations and improvements leading to ‘cut throat’ competition.

Millennials at Work

In 2016, millennials composed a third of the workforce in the US, making it the largest generation in the labor force today. With ages ranging from 21 to 36 in 2017, millennials are starting to take on leadership roles, as well.

So much has been said about this generation, especially by the ones that came before it, in terms of work ethics, values, and belief system. Millennials grew up at a time of 24-hour news, exposing them to events from all over the world, and as they entered the new millennium, they witnessed the 9/11 tragedy; and then later on, were taken to the information age and technological revolutions. All these contribute to this generation’s different worldview and multifaceted set of beliefs.

Indeed, it can pose a great a challenge for organizations, which are still predominantly led by baby boomers, to manage such a complex group of individuals. In dealing with millennial workers, one must understand this generation and how they are different or even similar to the others.

Mentorship

Millennials appreciate regular feedback, and this comes from their need for constant growth and learning. They feel more valued when they get feedback from their superior – whether positive or negative. Since they grew up with high expectations from older generations, millennials also want praise and encouragement for them to have a sense of progress and importance; but above all, millennials prefer managers who are transparent and dependable and whose practices are fair and ethical.

Working with Teams

While millennials have a good sense of their individuality, they work well in groups. Evidence has shown that millennials believe that business decisions are better made when there is a variety of input provided by individuals. However, the study also showed that this belief is not at all unique in millennials as Gen X employees equally believe the same.

Work-Life Balance

Millennials value work-life balance for they know that it is beneficial to their mental health. Across all generations, mental health must be top priority in the workplace. A survey suggests that millennials felt more stressed and under pressure than their baby boomer counterparts, and this is due to factors such as low pay rates and high entry-level workloads.

Being Challenged and Embracing Change

Being the most educated generation to date, millennials are always up for challenges and are ready to take on changes within the organization, provided that they are shown transparency and inclusion in the decision-making.

Integrity and Ethics of the Business

A survey conducted on millennials showed that they put much value on how businesses put their employees first, as well as their solid foundation of trust and integrity. Employee satisfaction and fair treatment ranked number one among values that millennials look for in a business, while ethics, trust, integrity, and honesty came in close second. The Department of Labor implements more than 180 labor laws, covering various workplace activities for millions of employers and workers. These labor laws cover employees’ wages and hours, compensation and benefits, workplace safety, among others. Millennials are particular with the ethical and legal practices of organizations they associate with, so they put prime consideration on this aspect.

Social Responsibility

In valuing an organization, millennials look for authenticity and meaning. They go for companies that hold the same values as they do, and rally around the causes they feel strongly for. A study found that millennials look for reputation-related attributes in businesses when looking for jobs. These attributes include caring about employees, environmental sustainability, community relations, and ethical products and services.

As millennials continue to saturate the workforce, as well as the consumer market, businesses must be more adept in the millennial belief system and workplace behavior. Any organization can benefit from knowing their employees well and creating an environment that best suits their employees’ strengths and potentials. Good employees make good leaders, and millennials will soon take the majority of the business leadership seats. It is then optimal to master the art of dealing with the millennial worker.

 

If you observe unethical practices at work, contact us at Hogan Injury for expert legal advice.

Hogan Injury, an official partner of Neuts on content collaboration, represents Plaintiffs in personal injury claims and litigation related to third-party liability events (TPL).

None of the contents on Hoganinjury.com is legal advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified lawyer. Please consult a legal professional for further information.

The Importance of Employee Mental Health

Businesses should always consider their employees’ overall well-being. An employee’s health is a big factor that affects their productivity and capacity to interact with other employees to facilitate teamwork within an organization. A worker’s physical health is important since it plays a big role when it comes to doing physical tasks at work, being physically fit also means that employees are not going to miss a day of work because of sickness. Determining the status of a person’s physical health is quite easy and often the primary concern of many employers, mental health, on the other hand, is harder to detect but can cause dire consequences not just to the employee but their employers as well.

Risks for physical harm inside the workplace are easily seen, and workplace accidents can be prevented by taking the proper precautions. However, there are also a lot of risk factors for mental health that can be found in working environments. These mental health risks are mostly connected to the interaction between people within the organization. An example of this is when an employee feels like they are being bullied or singled out in the office. Some mental health risks are related to the skills and competencies of an employee or the support they receive from the business they work for. For instance, an employee was given a project that fits their skill set, but if the company refuses to provide this employee with the resources to finish the project, that could affect the mental health of the employee.

Mental health risks inside the workplace may also be connected to an employee’s actual job. Consistent overloading of work or assigning tasks that are unsuitable to an employee’s skill set can have a huge impact. Some jobs inherently have higher personal risks than others, being a doctor or a firefighter for example. These jobs often take a toll because lives of other people are at stake, leading for people in these professions to resort to harmful coping mechanisms like alcohol abuse or the use of psychoactive drugs.

Employers should start thinking about creating a healthier workplace if they want to sustain good productivity among their employees and to reduce staff turnover. Happier employees tend to stay with the company they are working for and could be beneficial for any business, in the long run, especially workflows that require expertise that is built over time. A healthy workplace is one where employees and managers work together to create a working environment that is conducive to ideas that can help accomplish business goals.

For employees suffering from mental health issues because of work, you may be able to file a claim on your workers’ compensation insurance. You would have to prove that the cause of your mental conditions is because of your work and would need a lawyer with expertise in workers’ compensation cases. If your condition is caused by a physical accident or illness that you sustained because of work, then your chances of getting compensation become higher. An example of this is post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. If you developed PTSD because of an accident in the workplace, you might be eligible for compensation.

Contact us at Hogan Injury if you’re suffering mental issues because of your work.

Hogan Injury, an official partner of Neuts on content collaboration, represents Plaintiffs in personal injury claims and litigation related to third-party liability events (TPL).

None of the content on Hoganinjury.com is legal advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified lawyer. Please consult a legal professional for further information.