Robbery at off-track betting establishment isn't abnormal condition
Case name: Close v. Philadelphia Park Racetrack, 24 PAWCLR 129 (Pa. W.C.A.B. 2009).
The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Appeal Board reversed the grant of temporary total disability benefits to a manager.
What it means:
In Pennsylvania, a worker seeking benefits for a psychological injury is required to prove that her injury was not a subjective reaction to normal working conditions. Injuries resulting from events that are expected in the relevant working environment are not compensable.
The board determined that a workers' compensation judge erred in finding a manager for an off-track betting company was exposed to conditions which were abnormal for her working environment. The manager alleged that she sustained psychological injuries when she was robbed at gunpoint and threatened with immediate physical harm or death while working for the establishment. The employer argued that the manager was not exposed to conditions that were abnormal. It argued the manager worked in a volatile environment in a center-city off-track betting establishment where she had to carry large amounts of cash in a common, unprotected area frequented by users of public transportation. The board found that a robbery is not an unexpected event within the relevant working environment of such an establishment.
The board pointed out that it must look at the specific work environment of the manager to classify whether the conditions were normal or abnormal. It determined based on the circumstances that she was not subjected to an abnormal working environment, noting there had been previous robberies at the manager's location. It reversed the WCJ's determination that she was entitled to benefits due to psychological injuries sustained as a result of abnormal working conditions.
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September 16, 2009
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