It is important to distinguish and identify the factors that indicate existing stressors on the job. However, why does this come to be a legal obligation? In this article, we will be discussing job pressure and job security. We will try to understand two of these concepts separately and what this would mean to employees. In addition to this, let us understand what changes or trends are currently taking place in the employment/labor force.
Recognizing the legal repercussions of workplace stressors, circumstances that lead to stress—will help a company at large to introduce programs that will lessen the compensation costs, bad publicity, and the amount of possibly troublesome litigation.
- “Increasingly, state workmen’s compensation laws specify compensation for injuries resulting from continued stress on the job. The California labor code, for example, allows compensation for injuries caused by “repetitive mentally or physically traumatic activities extending over a period of time, the combined effect of which causes any disability or need for medical treatment.”
- As a result of research, more of the medical community accepts a cause-and-effect relationship between workplace stress and such illnesses as heart disease, hypertension, upper respiratory infections, peptic ulcers, reduced immunity, migraines, depression, and suicidal tendencies.
- Employees have begun to believe in a link between workplace stress and illness. A survey of 40,000 women conducted by the National Association of Working Women found that 33% of the respondents saw their jobs as very stressful, while 62% of them reported their work as somewhat stressful.
Let us take an example of the latest case concerning a corporate executive’s suicide, that occurred in New York.
In this case, the executive had great job stress, which was intensified by the firing of a colleague, owing to which his secretary had to take on some of his duties. In spite of her best efforts to help him cope with the job, he committed suicide in his office. The body was later found by the same secretary. “The events triggered a severe depression that required her prolonged hospitalization.” The court held:
- “There is nothing in the nature of a stress or shock situation which ordains physical as opposed to psychological injury. The determinative factor is the particular vulnerability of an individual by virtue of his physical makeup. In a given situation one person may be susceptible to a heart attack while another may suffer a depressive reaction. In either case, the result is the same—the individual is incapable of functioning properly because of an accident and should be compensated under the Workmen’s Compensation Law.”
A healthy workplace environment and job security – One of the two most important factors that not only employees desire in a career but very much require. As an employee one may be in various circumstances that knowingly or unknowingly contribute to stressors in the workplace environment. Be it:
- Completion of office tasks,
- Maintaining a reputation of what your colleague thinks of you,
- Building rapport with your seniors,
- Fighting to get on top of the corporate ladder.
Therefore, when one does not have to worry about whether they are doing better at their current job or not, or constantly worry whether they are going to lose their job or not. Employees can better focus on not only improving the company’s growth but overall personal growth. This in turn has beneficial factors, like:
- Personal development,
- Building a better company reputation,
- Increasing goodwill of the company,
- Better financial turnover,
- Better and happy clients to say the least
Thus, Multinational companies and business owners need to improve and convey a strong and clear-cut job security policy to improve workplace productivity and success. As well as communicate and actively work on building a positive workplace environment.
 Who’s Liable for Stress on the Job? (hbr.org)  The 9 to 5 National Survey on Women and Stress (Cleveland, Ohio: National Association of Working Women, 1983).  Handbook of Stress: Theoretical and Clinical Aspects ed. L. Goldberger and S. Breznitz (New York: Free Press, 1982).  Refer footnote 1.  Wolfe v. Sibley, Lindsay, 36 N.Y.2d 505 | Casetext Search + Citator