Employer's failure to file prehearing conference statement proves costly
Case name: Smith v. Albany County Sheriff's Department, et al., 111 NYWCLR 18 (N.Y. App. Div. 2011).
Ruling: The New York Appellate Division held that a correction officer, who alleged he suffered depression and anxiety due to harassment at his workplace, sustained a compensable injury.
What it means: In New York, the waiver of defenses resulting from the employer's failure to timely file a prehearing conference statement does not create a presumption relieving a worker of his obligation to demonstrate a compensable injury.
Summary: The New York Appellate Division agreed with the Workers' Compensation Board's holding that a correction officer, who alleged he suffered depression and anxiety due to workplace harassment, sustained a compensable injury. The employer waived its defenses for failing to file a prehearing conference statement as required. The waiver of defenses resulting from the failure to timely file a prehearing conference statement did not create a presumption relieving the officer of his obligation to demonstrate a compensable injury.
In this case, the medical reports submitted by the officer sufficiently established a claim for work-related stress. Such records detailed the stress that he experienced and attributed it, in part, to rumors spread at work that he had once committed rape, and to threats and harassment from inmates and staff. The records were sufficient to conclude that the stress that caused the injury was greater than that experienced by others working in similar capacities.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
May 9, 2011
Copyright 2011© LRP Publications