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Can toxic workplace stress cause workers’ compensation claims?

People should be able to thrive at work while maintaining their mental and physical well-being. However, in some cases, toxic workplace stress can emerge.

It poses serious challenges to employees’ health and productivity. It also begs the question: Can such stress lead to workers’ compensation claims?

Toxic workplace stress

Toxic workplace stress refers to chronic or acute stress. Factors causing it may include excessive workload, unrealistic expectations, poor management practices, bullying, harassment, discrimination or a lack of support systems. When employees face these stressors on a daily basis, it can have bad effects on their mental and physical health.

Impact on health and productivity

The impact of toxic workplace stress on employees is usually huge. Chronic stress can lead to many health problems, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, high blood pressure and even heart disease. Moreover, it can significantly decrease productivity and job satisfaction, leading to absenteeism, presenteeism and increased employee turnover rates.

Workers’ compensation claims

In some cases, employees may seek workers’ compensation for injuries or illnesses caused by workplace stress. While physical injuries have a more common link with workers’ compensation claims, mental health conditions caused by toxic workplace stress can also be eligible under certain circumstances.


Proving eligibility can be tricky. Unlike physical injuries, mental health conditions often lack tangible evidence. That makes it difficult to establish a direct link between the workplace and the injury. However, if an employee can show that specific workplace stressors caused their mental health condition and significantly impacted their ability to perform their job, they may have a valid claim.

Preventing toxic workplace stress should be a priority for employers. Preventive approaches and addressing issues promptly can help mitigate the risks.