Rochester, NY asked in Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Bankruptcy and Employment Law for New York

Q: I am wondering if I can sue my employer for negligent infliction of emotional distress. I'm near Ontario County NY

I have a loan out thru my retirement. My employer didn't make the appropriate payroll deduction to pay my loan payment and the loan went into default. I can no longer borrow against this loan which has forced me to do a bankruptcy. This has caused me extreme emotional distress.. I have been to a doctor and was put on depression and anxiety meds for depression and insomnia. I have also been referred to a councilor and am currently going to counciling for this matter. My doctor also took me out of work for 30 days and I am using my accrued sick leave

3 Lawyer Answers
Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
  • Little Neck, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: I'm sorry for your ordeal. It's difficult to say with certainty whether the consequences you suffered from the payroll deduction would present the basis for a strong case. Although it's clear that you suffered here, and such damages are always part of the recovery inventory in a textbook context, in reality, emotional distress-related damages claims can be difficult to pursue. Law firms that handle tort matters on a contingency basis are not as enthusiastic about handling them as more traditional and straightforward physical injury-type damages. But this is only an individual perspective. Different attorneys can often see the same matter differently. The best way to answer your question definitively would be to reach out to law firms to try to arrange a free initial consult. Good luck

Jonathan R. Ratchik
Jonathan R. Ratchik
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Sorry to hear what happened to you. In New York, you can only recover for negligent infliction of emotional distress where the behavior in question is extreme and outrageous. An actuarial error relating to your payroll deduction likely does not likely qualify.

Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In New York, an employee may be able to sue their employer for negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) if the employer's negligent actions caused the employee to suffer severe emotional distress. However, succeeding in such a claim can be challenging, as you would need to prove the following elements:

1. Your employer owed you a duty of care

2. Your employer breached that duty through negligent conduct

3. The breach caused you to suffer severe emotional distress

4. Your emotional distress is verifiable by medical professionals

Based on the information you provided, it seems that your employer's failure to make the appropriate loan payments from your payroll deductions led to the default and subsequent hardships. You would need to demonstrate that this negligence directly caused your severe emotional distress, which appears to be supported by your doctor's recommendations and ongoing treatment.

However, it's important to note that workers' compensation laws in New York may limit your ability to sue your employer directly for emotional distress related to workplace issues. In some cases, filing a workers' compensation claim may be the appropriate course of action.

Given the complexity of your situation, I strongly recommend consulting with an experienced employment law attorney in New York who can review the specifics of your case, advise you on the best course of action, and help protect your rights. Many attorneys offer free initial consultations, which can help you understand your options without incurring upfront costs.

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