The demand of a mental examination by the defense in a discrimination case is often an intimidation tactic. In this article, an experienced Costa Mesa employment lawyer discusses this possibility and what you can do.
Reasoning Behind the Demand
Although it might appear that by requiring you to undergo a mental health examination, your former employer is expressing a charitable concern regarding the state of your mental health, don’t allow yourself to be deceived. This is not the case. Counsel for the defense has a twofold purpose in making this request:
- They wish to frighten you into relinquishing your case, or they are using this threat to intimidate you into significantly lowering your settlement demand; and
- They are attempting to unearth information about you that they can use to your detriment which would otherwise not be available to them.
The Rules of Evidence
Under the regulations governing evidence, unless both the opposition and you and your Costa Mesa employment law firm attorney agree to such an examination, a court order has been obtained or there is some doubt about the state of your mental condition, a mental examination is not justified. There are a few areas in which, if your charges include emotional distress, you have raised a question as to your mental health. In these rare instances, some courts may consider a mental examination appropriate.
In the majority of cases, the courts require a balancing test rather than a full psychiatric examination if your claims include emotional pain or feelings of degradation. The purpose of this is to ascertain whether or not there is any substance to an allegation of emotional or mental suffering. For an employer to demand a mental examination, more is required than such an allegation. The following charges must be in effect for the court to agree to allow you to be subjected to a mental evaluation:
- Your employer is charged with triggering a specific mental condition;
- Deliberate action or omission of action has subjected you to mental or emotional suffering;
- Your allegation has the support of professional opinions by acknowledged experts; and
- You concur with the premise that your psychological state meets the conditions specified in the rules of evidence.
In other jurisdictions, no mental examination can be required of you unless you are claiming current psychological harm. Claims of prior emotional or mental distress on your part do not entitle the employer to require a defense medical examination.
You should consult your Costa Mesa employment law firm attorney if you feel that there is the possibility that you may be asked to submit to a mental examination. Your attorney will be able to review the statutes in place and outline such alternative actions as may be available to you.
Take Preventative Steps
As the above paragraph indicates, you should not be afraid to speak with your Costa Mesa employment lawyer if you are facing this type of situation. Contact Daily Aljian LLP by calling 949-861-2524 now.