Intentional infliction of emotional distress is sometimes referred to as the "tort of outrage." In some cases, the circumstances of termination are so cruel, intimidating, and severe that an employee suffers extreme emotional upset. In certain instances, it is unlawful for an employer to deliberately cause an employee serious emotional harm. You might have been treated unlawfully if the employer's conduct toward you was:
- Extreme and outrageous, beyond the bounds of acceptable conduct in a civilized society;
- Intended to, or could reasonably be foreseen to, cause a reasonable person serious emotional trauma; and
- Actually the cause of severe and serious emotional distress for you.
The law does not protect against "mere insult." The focus for this kind of claim is on the outrageousness of the conduct and the severity of the emotional distress that results. Being fired on the spot and escorted out of the building by security in front of all of your former co-workers is probably not enough, alone, to constitute intentional infliction of serious emotional distress. Being handcuffed without justification or being subjected to repeated racial slurs, or severe sexual harassment may constitute an "outrage" that can be remedied.