What Is Workplace Conflict?
Studies have shown that negative or bad behaviour in the workplace can have a high toll on people’s immune systems, and it is likely that for this reason we see a lot of cases related to workplace stress at Share Lawyers. Major health problems have also been linked to the high stress levels at work, resulting in cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, ulcers, as well as depression and anxiety.
According to Health Canada, more than one in three Canadian employees report a high level of work/life conflict, one third of Canadian employees report high levels of depressed mood and half of Canadian employees experience high levels of stress due to work.
Common causes of workplace conflict with colleagues and management include:
- personality clashes
- unreasonable workloads
Workplace conflict is unpleasant and stressful, and it can cause or contribute to poor physical and mental health. When a workplace conflict affects an employee’s health to the point that they are unable to perform the essential duties of their occupation, they may be advised by their medical doctors to take time away from work.
Can Workplace Stress Contribute to My Disability?
Insurers frequently take the position that workplace stress is not a legitimate basis for a disability claim, but clearly, work conditions do play a significant role in worsening the health of many people.
If you are unable to work due to a medical condition created or worsened due to conflict in the workplace, don’t give up! You may be eligible for disability benefits from your group or private insurance, even if your insurance company deems the cause of your disability to be a “workplace conflict” and denies your claim on those grounds.
Some medical conditions (such as anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress) may develop or worsen due to workplace conflict.
Friends and family might recommend removing oneself from the situation by changing occupations; however, those who are susceptible to depression or anxiety may find that the affects of workplace harassment are long-lasting and difficult to overcome.
In addition, leaving your current position may result in loss of disability insurance benefits if your policy is provided to you through your work, and joining a group insurance plan in a new position may delay you from applying for disability due to waiting period clauses or may restrict you altogether due to pre-existing condition clauses.
When Does Job-Related Stress Count As A Disability?
According to most insurance companies, almost never. However, to qualify for disability benefits where the primary disabling condition is work related stress, medical support from a mental health professional with a diagnosis of a mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder or an adjustment disorder, is important.
Why Are LTD Insurance Claims Denied Due To 'Workplace Conflict'?
- We see many claims that are denied based on the problem being work-related because disability insurance is not designed to provide benefits for a pure workplace dispute or conflict. However, if the workplace situation has resulted in a medically diagnosed mental health condition, coverage should be provided under the terms of most group disability plans. Here, at Share Lawyers, we have been very successful in fighting and winning benefits for people in these circumstances.
- Long-term disability insurance companies often deny claims for mental illnesses caused by workplace conflict, taking the position that the employee can work in another workplace that is free of conflict, and are therefore not truly disabled. This position fails to consider that mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety have an enormous impact on an individual’s concentration and cognition, and that recovery is not guaranteed simply by changing environments. These illnesses range in severity from one person to another and may be long-term in nature.
- Individuals who suffer from depression and other mood disorders are often met with skepticism by employers and insurance companies, causing shame, guilt and consequently, further depression and anxiety. A lack of objective medical tests for the disease–such as MRIs, x-rays, and so on–makes it difficult to prove.
Tips for Managing Conflict:
Conflict is experienced in every area of life including the workplace, but it can be very troublesome and stressful. Here are some tips for managing conflict in the workplace:
- Take a deep breath, count to 10
- Go for a walk
- Stay calm
- Remove yourself from the situation
- Take your time, don’t rush
- Honesty is the best policy
- Be an ‘active listener’
- Ask for help
- Tackle the situation, NOT the person
- Stick to the facts, NOT emotions
- Make sure to take some time to take care of YOURSELF. You are important!
Share Lawyers are leaders in claims against insurance companies for long term disability benefits, and other insurance claims based on illness and injury. There are no fees unless we win your case. Share Lawyers helps individuals in Ontario as well as across Canada who have been unfairly denied disability benefits from a variety of policies.
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If your insurance company has denied or terminated your benefits because your disability is related to a workplace conflict, it is in your best interest to speak to an experienced disability lawyer here at Share Lawyers who can help you fight for your benefits.
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