Commander fails to secure benefits for post-termination fainting
Case name: McCarthy v. City of Warrenville, 19 ILWCLB 101 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2011).
Ruling: The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission held that a police commander failed to prove that an accidental injury occurred which arose out of and in the course of her employment.
What it means:
In Illinois, the stress of being laid off is a stress to which all workers are occasionally subjected. A worker's injuries resulting from such stress do not arise out of her employment.
Summary: A police commander attended a meeting during which she was informed that her position had been eliminated. She testified she had no warning regarding the subject matter of the meeting and she was shocked and extremely upset. She walked back to the police station feeling nauseous. She testified that she went into the restroom and then passed out, injuring her forehead and knee when she fell. The workers' compensation arbitrator denied benefits, finding that the commander failed to prove her injury arose out of or in the course of her employment. Upon review, the commission affirmed and adopted the decision of the arbitrator.
The arbitrator said it was clear that her employment was terminated at the conclusion of the meeting. It could be argued that she continued to be in the course of her employment at the time of the injury, but the injury did not arise out of any risk incidental to her employment. The fall was idiopathic and there was no defective condition in the restroom that increased the risk of falling or the effects of the fall. Also, the stress of being laid off, disciplined, or fired is a stress to which all workers are occasionally subjected.
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September 12, 2011
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