HAMBERGER & WEISS LLP secures disallowance of stressful work environment claim!

HAMBERGER & WEISS LLP secures disallowance of stressful work environment claim!

A certified medical assistant brought a claim for workers’ compensation benefits after suffering a panic attack at work. Claimant got into an argument with a co-worker in front of a patient and was disciplined with a written warning. Thereafter, claimant posted on social media in violation of the employer’s social media guidelines. A meeting was conducted with the supervisor, human resources representative, union representative and claimant. At the conclusion of the meeting, claimant refused to sign the disciplinary incident report. On the next day, following a telephone call with her supervisor, claimant suffered chest pains and went to the hospital. After a subsequent meeting with claimant’s manager and human resources, Claimant filed a workers’ compensation claim alleging stress and anxiety due to harassment by her supervisor.

Extensive testimony was taken from the claimant and supervisor regarding the alleged harassment, stressful work environment and disciplinary action. Our partner, John Land, was able to defeat the stress claim by eliciting admissions from the claimant during cross-examination that the claimant had violated the employer’s policy on social media, of which she was aware, as well as conceding that her verbal altercation with a co-worker justified disciplinary action. In addition, testimony from the supervisor proved that all disciplinary actions taken were pursuant to employer policy.

At the conclusion of the testimony, the stress claim was disallowed by the Administrative Law Judge because the stress alleged was nothing more than the usual irritations of employment and the claimant was disciplined due to a violation of the employer’s policies and standards.

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