Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is commonly defined as a psychiatric disorder that develops after experiencing or witnessing highly traumatic events. These events may involve accidents, natural disasters, or physical, mental, emotional, or sexual abuse. While most people don’t associate PTSD with work or their workplace, PTSD can and does develop in the workplace. Workplace PTSD is a different emotional, cognitive, and physical experience than a traditional catalyst for PTSD. Workers affected by workplace PTSD may have trouble coping with negative, abusive, or traumatic aspects of their job.
There is not one set of triggers for PTSD. The catalyst may be a stressful event or catastrophic accident. A worker may realize or perceive their workplace as physically or emotionally unsafe due to treacherous working conditions, exposure to violence, or other emotionally demanding conditions. The workplace culture may also trigger PTSD. Ongoing exposure to emotional abuse, threatening behaviors, or sexual or racial harassment from coworkers or customers can result in PTSD. In some cases, chronic overwork culture may lead to PTSD. Chronic overwork culture includes:
Additionally, the work environment or coworkers may trigger an individual’s personal trauma. Sexual or racial harassment at work may trigger a worker’s past negative experiences exacerbating their PTSD symptoms. A coworker or supervisor ignoring the worker’s boundaries may trigger memories of their abusive parents or previous workplace abuse.
Continuous exposure to triggering events, situations, or people may lead to workplace PTSD. Whether a person develops workplace PTSD depends on their unique interplay of genetic, environmental, personality, and historical factors. Symptoms of PTSD may manifest physically and mentally and often look different in each person. However, experts believe there are common symptoms workers can keep an eye on. If you think you are experiencing workplace PTSD, answers to the following questions may help you determine if you are indeed developing workplace PTSD.
If you answered yes to several of these questions, you might be experiencing some level of workplace PTSD. Employees suffering from workplace PTSD may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Under California law, employees are entitled to file for workers’ comp benefits if they develop a mental or physiological condition because of their work or work culture. An experienced California workers’ comp lawyer can help you recover fair compensation for your PTSD.
People who work in California have the right to expect a safe work environment. However, safety and health cannot always be guaranteed, especially if a worker is exposed to triggering situations daily. If you are suffering from workplace PTSD, you may be eligible for workers’ comp benefits. At KCNS Law Group, our team of skilled California workers’ compensation lawyers has decades of experience helping our clients recover the compensation owed to them. We understand each situation and condition is unique, which is why we are proud of our client-based approach that allows us to meet our clients’ specific needs. You can call our office at (818) 937-9255 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation.