Let's say that you are highly stressed and you can directly attribute it to changes that have taken place at work. Let's say that this stress is disabling you among some of your major life activities. Well, can you claim an on the job disease and be compensated by the Office of Workers Compensation? YES!! You can!!
The Department of Labor recently decided a case that reminds practitioners of an overworked employee’s right to collect workers compensation. In August 2013 an employee filed an occupational disease claim alleging that he sustained a stress-related emotional condition in the performance of duty as an Administrative Assistant. He pointed to his depression and social withdrawal, his worsening pelvic floor dysfunction, the onset of neuropathy in his hands, feet and lower extremities, his weight gain of over 80 pounds, his worsening insomnia and sleep apnea, and the onset of several skin conditions. The core of his claim was based on being assigned the work of three other Administrative Assistants who left the office between October 2012 and February 2013. Here is what DOL said when it overturned the initial dismissal of his case—and what is important to practitioners who want to help employees make similar claims.
When an employee experiences emotional stress in carrying out his employment duties or has fear and anxiety regarding his ability to carry out his duties, and the medical evidence establishes that the disability resulted from his emotional reaction to such situation, the disability is generally regarded as due to an injury arising out of and in the course of employment. This is true where the employee’s disability resulted from his emotional reaction to his day-to-day duties. The same result is reached where the emotional disability resulted from the employee’s emotional reaction to a special assignment or requirement imposed by the employing establishment or by the nature of his work.
DOL ruled that the employee had established two compensable factors of employment and remanded the case for an examination of “the medical evidence to determine whether a causal relationship exists between the established factor of employment and appellant’s medical condition.” (See Appellant v. Dept. of Justice, TX, ECAB Docket No. 14-1438 (September 16, 2015) [http://www.dol.gov/ecab/decisions/2015/Sep/14-1438.htm]).
If you are an employee that has developed stress or a disabling disease in the course of your work, you may be eligible for Workers Compensation. Ask a steward if this applies to you!!
[post sourced from Fedsmill.com (http://fedsmill.com/owcpstress#more-4563)]