Manager can't prove workplace stress caused compensable depression
Case name: New York City Housing Authority, 113 NYWCLR 22 (N.Y.W.C.B., Panel 2013).
Ruling: The New York Workers' Compensation Board disallowed a manager's claim for depression due to workplace stress, supervisory harassment, and physical intimidation.
What it means: In New York, to have a viable claim for mental injuries, the stress must be greater than that which occurs in the normal work environment.
Summary: The board disallowed a manager's claim for depression alleged due to workplace stress, supervisory harassment, and physical intimidation. The manager acknowledged that there was no disciplinary action, work evaluation, job transfer, demotion, or termination that led to her stress claim. The evidence indicated that the manager was subjected to the normal stresses of a busy governmental agency that had to adhere to budgets, a chain of command, various supervisors and their personalities, and agency procedures. A review of the testimony and the emails contemporaneous to the events she complained of showed that the manager's concerns were properly addressed by management.
While she claimed that she had an increased workload and was understaffed, she never explained how the workload increased over the years and how her staffing needs were not met. Her complaints regarding past actions of her direct supervisor were deemed unfounded. The board also pointed out that she did not demonstrate an increased workload that affected her and gave rise to her psychiatric condition. The board concluded that the manager's stress was not compensable.
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July 8, 2013
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