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  • Workman's compensation Massachusetts

    undefinedWHile the unfortunate bad back injury , or any other clear injury entitles a worker to Workman's compensation due to an accident, can a situation fall under WC when an incident by a supervisor creates such an significant amount of emotional distress to the employee. The employee has been ordered home on medical leave, is receiving prescriptions for depression and anxiety, etc. and is being referred to a mental health counselor for assistance in recovering from the incident. The employee was so humiliated and put down for actions she knew nothing about; yet she was the receipient a a profanity laced tirade over what turned out to be meaningless. The employee however has been unable to return to work since the physician will not release her, nor does the mental health expert advise on returning to the workplace at this point.

    The personnel office told the employee she had no elibility for Workman's Comp since it was not an injury. If someone is so shaken that their condition over several weeks requires medical professionals to administer meds for depression, anxiety, etc, and counseling is necessary to "bring this person" back.....then has not the person been traumatized, injured physchologically?


    From Massachusetts General Law
    (7A) "Personal injury'' includes infectious or contagious diseases if the nature of the employment is such that the hazard of contracting such diseases by an employee is inherent in the employment. "Personal injury'' shall not include any injury resulting from an employee's purely voluntary participation in any recreational activity, including but not limited to athletic events, parties, and picnics, even though the employer pays some or all of the cost thereof. Personal injuries shall include mental or emotional disabilities only where the predominant contributing cause of such disability is an event or series of events occurring within any employment. If a compensable injury or disease combines with a pre-existing condition, which resulted from an injury or disease not compensable under this chapter, to cause or prolong disability or a need for treatment, the resultant condition shall be compensable only to the extent such compensable injury or disease remains a major but not necessarily predominant cause of disability or need for treatment. No mental or emotional disability arising principally out of a bona fide, personnel action including a transfer, promotion, demotion, or termination except such action which is the intentional infliction of emotional harm shall be deemed to be a personal injury within the meaning of this chapter.

    Is Personnel correct, just not aware, or is it some benefit to some companies for whatever reason, to inform any employee they are not entitled.

    Thanks for any input.

  • #2
    WC Stress claims are very hard to prove. Unless it is one like PTSD from being an employee say where a store was robbed at gunpoint, etc. Usually one incident from a supervisor is not enough but does beg the question as to what mental issues were pre-existing to cause such a bad reaction.

    And I think you missed the last sentence "No mental or emotional disability arising principally out of a bona fide, personnel action including a transfer, promotion, demotion, or termination except such action which is the intentional infliction of emotional harm shall be deemed to be a personal injury within the meaning of this chapter." You would need to be able to prove the "intentional infliction of emotional harm" and that it wasn't a "bona fide, personnel action"

    Comment


    • #3
      Workman's compensation

      Indeed there was a second incident the year before...not as bad...but physician did keep her out of work a few days. This time, more severe, out of work almost 6th week now.
      There was no personnel action involved,,,, no transfer, demotion . The nature of the incident was simply to "rip to shreds " outbof the employee for she failed to have informational available to the supervisor to present at an Executive Board meeting. That information was not avail, hidden from mgmt by a disgruntled employee who has now left the company.
      No, no personnel action; rather an outburst from a second level supervisor who belittled the employee in front of others..those others who stated..."wow, never, ever witnessed anything like that"'and encouraged the young woman to complain with Personnel.

      Certainly PTSD COULD BE IDENTIFIED as a result of the first incident. " walking on egg shells" ,awaiting the next incident takes a toll on one's physci.



      Originally posted by hr for me View Post
      WC Stress claims are very hard to prove. Unless it is one like PTSD from being an employee say where a store was robbed at gunpoint, etc. Usually one incident from a supervisor is not enough but does beg the question as to what mental issues were pre-existing to cause such a bad reaction.

      And I think you missed the last sentence "No mental or emotional disability arising principally out of a bona fide, personnel action including a transfer, promotion, demotion, or termination except such action which is the intentional infliction of emotional harm shall be deemed to be a personal injury within the meaning of this chapter." You would need to be able to prove the "intentional infliction of emotional harm" and that it wasn't a "bona fide, personnel action"

      Comment


      • #4
        Taurus, I have been representing injured workers for over 20 years. Based on my experience, the "personnel office" or HR department will often misinform the injured worker about the worker's rights and the compensability of the claim. Keep in mind that when a comp claim is reported, the employee and the employer become legal adversaries.
        Bob Bollinger, Attorney
        Board Certified Specialist in NC Workers' Compensation Law
        Charlotte, NC

        Comment


        • #5
          The company should have a labor poster with their worker comp policy information listed. Also here is a link to the MA website with directions on how to file a claim (since her employer will not). http://www.mass.gov/lwd/workers-comp...ion-claim.html

          I have handled MA worker comp claims for 10+ years. I would expect this claim to be difficult to win. The employee will have to argue that what happened at work caused her stress and that it wasn't something outside of work. The employer will argue that the employee was stressed out for other reasons and that it has nothing to do with work.

          I don't see "walking on eggshells" as being PTSD. Many people learn to cope around higher ups by being careful of what they say and do. Unless you are the employee, remember that there are 3 sides to every story and what the company says (and has proof for) may be very different from what you are being told.

          Comment


          • #6
            BTW, just for the record, it's workER'S comp, not workMANs comp. Women have been in the workplace since WWII.
            I am not an attorney, and don't play one on TV. Any information given is a description only and should be verified by your attorney.

            Comment


            • #7
              Unintentional

              Originally posted by Alice Dodd View Post
              BTW, just for the record, it's workER'S comp, not workMANs comp. Women have been in the workplace since WWII.

              My apologies.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks so much

                Originally posted by HRinMA View Post
                The company should have a labor poster with their worker comp policy information listed. Also here is a link to the MA website with directions on how to file a claim (since her employer will not). http://www.mass.gov/lwd/workers-comp...ion-claim.html

                I have handled MA worker comp claims for 10+ years. I would expect this claim to be difficult to win. The employee will have to argue that what happened at work caused her stress and that it wasn't something outside of work. The employer will argue that the employee was stressed out for other reasons and that it has nothing to do with work.

                I don't see "walking on eggshells" as being PTSD. Many people learn to cope around higher ups by being careful of what they say and do. Unless you are the employee, remember that there are 3 sides to every story and what the company says (and has proof for) may be very different from what you are being told.

                Thanks to all those that have contributed. With respect to my "walking on eggshells" comment: there certainly is a direct correlation to the employee's constant anxiety ( I don't know if this meets the PTSD criteria) and an incident similiar, nearly one year earlier. If anything, this would be the easiest for the doctor placed her on medical leave immediately on the initial incident, the coworkers are all acquainted with the supervisor's bullying tactics. You wrote "Many people learn to cope around higher ups by being careful of what they say and do" . That is at what is at the core of the incident. The employee could not have been expected to know of the the problem when the department head themselves did not know of the problem. Attempting to retort each of every allegation by the supervisor was simply rejected by the supervisor.

                Trust me on this one: the truth is that this employee was so humiliated, was so verbally abusively treated, was the recepient of improper allegations of "not being on top of the problem", was ...well I'll leave it there. Trust me: the medical problems that resulted are real with a physician and medical professional working feverishly to bring several issues of health under control. No, no one could even come close to identifying any other stressor to her......well except for Congress, the fiscal cliff, and the Mayan predictions.

                Thanks again for all input. I will continue to assist my daughter during this difficult time. Sadly the laws are confusing, the procedure difficult. We have the truth on our side. I think it will boil down to the witnesses to the meeting and whether they have principles to tell factually what happened or whether they fear retailiation in their career.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by TAURUS View Post
                  Thanks again for all input. I will continue to assist my daughter during this difficult time. Sadly the laws are confusing, the procedure difficult. We have the truth on our side. I think it will boil down to the witnesses to the meeting and whether they have principles to tell factually what happened or whether they fear retailiation in their career.
                  Even if witnesses confirm your daughter's version of events, it won't guarantee that it meets the definition required by worker's comp. I have had that type of jerk manager who belittles you. It didn't result in so much stress that I was unable to function. That is what makes a stress claim so difficult. What is manageable for one person could break another.

                  What is your daughter's end game? Worker's comp, if awarded, would pay partial lost wages and medical bills. However it doesn't require your daughter's boss to be nice to her or require your daughter to be moved to another manager.

                  Also unless your daughter is on a FML, the company may decide to term her while she is out. Even under Family Medical Leave, the company is only required to hold her position 12 weeks.

                  I wish you and your daughter well. No matter the outcome it will be a rough road for you in her recovery.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sincere thanks

                    Originally posted by HRinMA View Post
                    Even if witnesses confirm your daughter's version of events, it won't guarantee that it meets the definition required by worker's comp. I have had that type of jerk manager who belittles you. It didn't result in so much stress that I was unable to function. That is what makes a stress claim so difficult. What is manageable for one person could break another.

                    What is your daughter's end game? Worker's comp, if awarded, would pay partial lost wages and medical bills. However it doesn't require your daughter's boss to be nice to her or require your daughter to be moved to another manager.

                    Also unless your daughter is on a FML, the company may decide to term her while she is out. Even under Family Medical Leave, the company is only required to hold her position 12 weeks.

                    I wish you and your daughter well. No matter the outcome it will be a rough road for you in her recovery.

                    Whether it meets the WC's definition or not, we must go forward. The end game? well it goes without saying some relief from all this stress. She just loves the company, been with them for 20 years just out of college. Good, deep, friendships. That one person could bring discredit to such a reputable, employee oriented company is bewildering. The end game? how do you not say anything to ensure management is aware of the behavior of one of their managers. Massachusetts has in the legislature a bill to stop bullying in the workplace. If anything perfectly described this situation, it is the bill in the Mass House. End game: this is not against the company, not even close to lawsuits. It is about manager's getting sensivity training or personal help themselves if they need it.

                    I much appreciate your best wishes...trust me it already has been a difficult road to see her anguish. Again, thanks.

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