There are a lot of gray areas when it comes to determining eligibility for workers' compensation benefits. Each state has its own laws and while a physical injury that happens in the workplace is typically covered, the courts are still divided when it comes to mental issues such as stress. A New York man is celebrating a victory after the New York Supreme Court's Appellate Division awarded him workers' compensation for stress inflicted by a co-worker's husband's plot to murder him.
The man, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, filed a workers' compensation claim after the jealous husband of a co-worker caused him excess stress and forced him to quit his job. While his employer, Hannaford Brothers Co. supermarket, denied the claim that his injury was work-related, the Workers' Compensation Board disagreed. The employer appealed and the appellate court sided with the employee.
The man was a manager at the supermarket when the incident occurred in November 2007. He had called a co-worker about a work-related matter and her husband immediately suspected that the two were having an affair. This led to the husband harassing and threatening the man. He even tried to have someone kill the man, but the plot was unsuccessful.
The husband even brought the man's supervisor into the situation and this led to the man being investigated by the store. The man was eventually unable to work due to the situation.
Workers' compensation benefits are not limited to physical injuries. Pre-existing conditions - even mental ones - can be exacerbated by conditions in the workplace. When this happens, the affected employees have the right to file claims, especially when their conditions forces them to miss work or even quit their job altogether.
Source: Insurance Journal, "Employee wins comp benefits in N.Y. after run-in with co-worker's husband," July 18, 2014