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Employee cites mental distress? Ask for mental exam

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Firing,Human Resources

Employees who sue but can’t show they suffered any monetary damages sometimes claim mental distress instead. Fortunately, courts don’t just take their word it, especially if the employee claims she had to undergo psychiatric treatment.

Recent case: Cindy LaCava was fired from her job as a customer serv­ice manager after complaining about sexual harassment and pay bias.

She sued, claiming she had suffered mentally from the discharge and har­ass­ment. She told the court she had to see a counselor for severe depression.

At the employer’s request, the court ordered a mental exam. It reasoned that LaCava had placed her mental health into question by claiming such severe emotional distress that she needed ongoing counseling. Her employer was then allowed to probe the claim with an exam. (LaCava v. Merced Irrigation District, No. 1:10-CV-0853, ED CA, 2011)

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