Our Asheville workers’ compensation attorneys know that mental health conditions, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), that are caused by work-related events can become very complicated and require special attention.
According to a recent article in the NY Daily News, a former supermarket manager was found eligible to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits due to PTSD after being harassed and threatened with genital mutilation.
The store manager claimed that the jealous husband of a female employee began harassing him in 2007. The manager called the employee at home on her day off and, the following day, the husband came to the store and threatened to kill him for having an affair with this wife. The manager denied having an affair with the female employee and said that the only reason he was calling was to inform her that due a slowdown in business, the store would be cutting back on hours for workers.
The harassment continued to the point where, according to testimony, the husband poured sugar in the store manager’s gas tank and paid a state police officer to attack him. The jealous husband was sentenced to five years.
The store manager claimed that these incidents triggered his PTSD condition, which he had as result of his service during the Vietnam War. As a result of his PTSD, he could not work and applied for workers’ compensation benefits from his employer.
In an unpublished opinion, the court in the Matter of Mosley v Hannaford Bros. Co., addressed the question of whether the store manager’s injury was considered work-related. The court concluded that reason there was a relationship between the store manager and his assailant was because he called an employee at home for work-related purposes. The assailant came to his workplace and harassed him, and the only reason he was subject to this harassment was because he had performed a managerial service in calling the employee on behalf of his employer.
The court found that was a sufficient connection between the harassment and his employment that exasperated his preexisting PTSD condition. The PTSD condition was considered an illness or injury for the purposes of workers’ compensation, and the cause of the renewed PTSD was employment-related; therefore, he was found eligible to receive benefits. The appeals court affirmed this decision.
When we think of being injured on the job, we often think in terms of a physical injury rather than a mental health condition. However, PTSD is a serious condition that can make it impossible to engage in normal activities, including work. If the PTSD is caused by an on-the-job injury or is triggered by an on-the-job situation, as was the case here, you may be able to recover benefits.
With more and more people suffering from PTSD and other stress-related conditions returning from military service in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are likely to see an increase in these types of claims. However, the facts of every situation are different, and you should speak with an attorney who regularly handles workers’ compensation claims to discuss the facts of your situation.
If you have been injured at work in Asheville, North Carolina, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.
Matter of Mosley v Hannaford Bros. Co., July 3 2014, New York Appellate Division
Former New York supermarket boss threatened with genital mutilation gets workers’ comp, court rules, July 8, 2014, NY Daily News
More Blog Entries:
Fowler v. Vista Care: How an Employee’s TTD Rating Can Affect Workers’ Compensation Benefits, July 2, 2014, Ashville Workers’ Compensation Lawyers’ Blog