22 Dec What defines an intentional infliction of mental suffering in the workplace?
Intentional infliction of mental suffering qualifies as a tort in Ontario. A tort is a civil wrong that is identified as an engagement in a wrongful act or infringing on another’s right that causes harm. The tort of infliction of mental suffering is different than a tort of harassment because it has a lesser penalty for the defendant and it is commonly easier to resolve.
How is intentional infliction of mental suffering tested in court?
Intentional infliction of mental suffering is tested in court by using an objective and subjective test. First, an objective test is when the court will analyze factual evidence and then conclude whether this information can be affiliated with the categories of the relevant test. The objective test to establish whether the defendant has engaged in an intentional infliction of mental suffering determines if their actions were flagrant or outrageous, intentionally causing harm, and causes proven or visible illness to the plaintiff.
Further, the court must also engage in a subjective test. A subjective test is when the court must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was intention behind the actions in question. In this case, the court would need to be absolutely certain that the defendant was intentionally causing harm or illness upon the plaintiff.
How does this apply to an employment relationship?
An intentional infliction of mental suffering can be identified in an employment relationship when, for example, an employer terminates an employee with the intention of inflicted harm or illness onto the employee.
It cannot qualify as an intentional infliction of mental suffering unless it is an independent actionable wrong, meaning it is another action distinct from the primary objective. For example, it would not qualify as an intentional infliction of mental suffering if the employer were to merely terminate the employee. The employer must have had a secondary purpose, which in this case, would be the intention to cause harm or illness through the termination.
If you are an employee who believes they have been subjected to intentional harm or illness at the workplace, please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.