Lost pay is the most obvious damage taken by an employee when he or she is discriminated against at work. However, the emotional distress that results from this discrimination can become as impactful in the life of the employee in New York as the salary he or she loses.

Employment law like the American Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act allows employees who suffer the emotional effects of workplace discrimination to recover monetary damages. Emotional distress claims are commonly attached to allegations of sexual harassment and filings that allege a hostile workplace environment. However, emotional distress claims can also become relevant in cases where promotion denial or retaliation from a supervisor is alleged.

Emotional distress can manifest itself in various ways. Signs of emotional distress include the inability to sleep, struggles to maintain relationships with friends and family, depression, mental anguish and damage to the employee’s reputation.

It may be possible to prove a claim of emotional distress through testimony from the employee who faced discrimination as well as friends, families and co-workers familiar with the situation. A second option is for a mental health professional to testify regarding the damage to the psyche of the affected person. Generally speaking, the higher the dollar amount attached to the emotional damage claim, the more necessary it is for the mental health professional to back these claims.

It is not uncommon for employers defending against emotional distress claims to fight back with allegations that the mental anguish suffered by the employee is not related to workplace treatment or events. To make their case, employers could request past information about the medical and psychological history of the employee. They may also seek information regarding past life and family events that may play a role in the emotional distress of the employee.

Discrimination in the workplace often leaves affected employees feeling isolated and vulnerable. Discriminatory actions from an employer can also negatively affect the ability to earn a living. Individuals who suffer from workplace discrimination may benefit from a conversation with an employment law attorney.