Background: It has been shown that fairness perceptions have a strong impact on health, especially under conditions of great work stress. The aim of this study was to extend previous research in studying whether working in high justice workplace would protect from health effects following environmental stressors outside work.
Methods: Using a prospective longitudinal design, the relationships between organisational justice and sickness-related absences both before and after a major life event among 25 459 public sector employees working in 2551 work units were studied. Sickness absences covered the period from 36 months before the event until 30 months after the event.
Results: The increase in sickness absences after the event was larger and stayed at a higher level even 30 months after the event, among those who perceived the management practices in their work unit to be relatively unfair. Similar patterns were found for each of the distributive, procedural and interactional dimensions of organisational justice.
Conclusions: Fair organisational and managerial procedures may buffer the negative health effects of psychosocial health risks outside work.