I hate my job.  My boss is rude to me, and I'm so stressed out with all the work I have to do.  What can I do?  Do I have any legal rights?

In most cases, you should try to find a new job.  Without knowing additional details, it sounds like you are going through what many employees endure.  Claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress are difficult to prove and are routinely dismissed by the courts.

In order to make a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, the plaintiff must demonstrate that (1) the defendant intended to inflict emotional distress or knew or should have known that emotional distress was the likely result of his or her conduct; (2) the conduct was extreme and outrageous so as to exceed all bounds of civilized society; (3) the defendant's conduct was the cause of the plaintiff's distress; and (4) plaintiff's emotional distress was severe -- typically meaning that the plaintiff must have had to seek therapy or psychiatric care.

To state a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress under North Carolina law, the plaintiff must demonstrate that "(1) the defendant negligently engaged in conduct, (2) it was reasonably foreseeable that such conduct would cause the plaintiff severe emotional distress . . ., and (3) the conduct did in fact cause severe emotional distress."  Sorrells v. M.Y.B. Hospitality Ventures of Asheville, 334 N.C. 669, 672, 435 S.E.2d 320, 322 (1993).

Unfortunately, there is no law stating that your employer, colleagues, or anyone else for that matter must treat you politely and with respect.  The courts have held that a certain amount of mere indignities and crude behavior are to be expected in our modern society.  These are tough standards to meet, but you should consult with an attorney about your specific circumstance to get a thorough evaluation of your case.


The Wake Law Office provides experienced and honest legal counsel for individuals and small businesses throughout eastern North Carolina, in cities such as Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Chapel Hill, Knightdale, Holly Springs, Apex, Morrisville, and Garner.  You'll find a lawyer you can count on at the Wake Law Office.
The information contained in this site is for general knowledge only, and is not to be construed as legal advice or advice creating an attorney-client relationship.  Please schedule a confidential consultation to have your specific legal questions addressed by an attorney.