Can You Sue Emotional Distress Damages for ''Unpleasant'' Work Conditions ?

In GTE Southwest, Inc. v. Bruce, 998 S.W.2d 605 (Tex. 1999), the Texas Supreme Court considered the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress in the workplace. See id. at 612 (in considering whether complained-of conduct is extreme and outrageous, courts consider "the context and the relationship between the parties"). The supreme court noted that "an employer must be able to supervise, review, criticize, demote, transfer, and discipline employees." Id. Therefore, some complained-of behavior in employment disputes may be expected, although it may be "unpleasant and sometimes unfair." Id. at 613. But only in the "most unusual circumstances" will an employee prove "the existence of some conduct that brings the dispute outside the scope of an ordinary employment dispute and into the realm of extreme and outrageous conduct." Id.