California Worker's Compensation - Help For Injured California Workers

• California Worker's Compensation - Quick facts about worker's compensation law, benefits and lawyer fees.

• California Worker's Compensation Resources - Links and resources for injured workers.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 22
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    10

    Default Stress and Psychological Illness Claims and Workers Comp

    I am currently a state employee. For the past 9 months, I have been harassed by a fellow co-worker (different department). He has gone off on me twice. I'm pretty tough, but this guy scares the absolute bejesus out of me. He is verbally abusive, his body language is frightening (clenched fists, charging stance) and his face completely changes and his eyes turn black with rage. He hits all my chakras and my gut-feeling is RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!

    He has written several disturbing things about me, has told people his mission in life it to get me fired, he has a dossier on me, he has had to get counseling because of his hatred for me but he comes up to my desk and in the most sickening voice says things like, "I really like your sweater." *chills* I am FORCED to talk to him and be polite which is fine for work matters, but small talk too? He creeps me out and I fear for my well-being. He also creeps my fellow co-workers out but he is "obsessed with hating me." He has also showed up to work with alcohol on his breath 3 times and one of those times he was drunk and sat on the floor next to a co-worker's desk and spewed his hate for me for 3hours.

    He is known as the "ticking timebomb."

    So, he applied for a promotion, and I found out early he didn't get it. The reason I found out early is because my boss did not want me to be at work the day they told him because they were afraid he'd come after me. They also asked me to take the day off after the holiday because "he would have time to think about things and his behavior is unpredictable." I was also told to not be alone, that the police would be dispatched immediately to my house if he went off, be aware of my surroundings, and "it would be great if you could be gone over the weekend."

    He did not go off. But hey! False alarm! Go ahead and come back to work even though we feared this person wanted to do great harm to you! Nevermind the fact my bosses would sweep the building and his office for fear he brought in weapons and that you have to look over your shoulder for the rest of your life! Get on back to work!

    Like hell! I went to the doctor and he IMMEDIATELY opened up a worker's comp case and prescribed counseling and AMBIEN. I am a wreck!

    I have documented everything, by the way.

    ETA: I have been telling my bosses the whole nine months there is a problem and their response: "we're working on it and you have no case for a grievance" Union Rep's response: "don't get a lawyer. It'll get ugly if you do."

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by OhNo; 12-28-2012 at 06:34 PM. Reason: add'l infor

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    9,109

    Default Re: Stop Me if You've Heard This One

    I not sure how or what type injury the doctors will be able to substantiate but the the threshold for compensibility for a stress/psychological mental illness claim is higher then for a physical injury.
    see LC 3208.3
    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/di...file=3200-3219

    I assume you filed a claim form.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    339

    Default Re: Stop Me if You've Heard This One

    A grievance is generally something you would file for a contractual issue so they are probably right that at this point you don't have a grievance. Because of that at this point your union rep is probably not going to be much help. These situations can be tricky from a union standpoint simply because often times the union represents both employees so they have a bit of conflict. That does not mean there is not a problem and that your management is not responsible to address it.

    Based on what you are stating here you do have a very hostile work environment. To compound the matter you have supervisory staff who are aware of the situation and have allowed it to persist. In some ways they are actually punishing you by requesting that you take time off to avoid a confrontation. If it is how you have presented it here then they have mishandled the situation and possibly could themselves face action especially if the situation does become physical and you are harmed in any way. Beyond just your own documentation you should have written documentation to your supervisor and above regarding every incident. You need to give them memos outlining the conversations you have had with them regarding the situation especially when they have warned you about this employee and the fact that they have asked you to not be at work for fear of what he might do. You may already be doing this, it should get their attention quickly. There may be some EEO issues so you might want to discuss this with the EEO rep at your agency. If your agency has an ERO you may also want to meet with them regarding the situation. At the very least at this point your agency management should have already seperated both of you from having any contact putting it in writing should force them to. Since he seems to be the instigator he is the one who should be removed and placed temporarily into a position so as to avoid contact pending an investigation by your agency. This would also be a good time to get written documentation from other employees who have witnessed anything. With all of your documentation and you need to really focus on specific facts and actions that he has or is doing and how it threatens you. As difficult as it is try to keep your own emotions in check. If they do as they should at some point you will more than likely be questioned for an investigation, I would strongly advise that you have a rep with you for this. That can be your union rep but does not have to be. You have the right to take someone else. I have seen cases where employees had union reps from other bargaining units than their own with them or even a higher management person from another department. You want someone you are comfortable with and trust, and someone who knows the state system.

    A stress or psyche claim could easily be justified in these types of situations. I have seen it often over the years in situations very similar to what you have described. It is somewhat of a double edged sword though. With a psyche claim chances are you will need an attorney at some point. This type of claim can get very complicated especially given the circumstances you describe. Not to discourage you but even having the claim accepted does not always fix things. Coming back to work from a stess claim can itself be stressful depending on the circumstances and how supportive your co-workers and management are. As .SH said there is a different threshold for such a claim. Your stress has to be at least 51% due to what you are claiming in your job. There will be some questions about your personal life, family, finances etc. Essentially all the normal things that everyone has besides work that causes stress. Every situation is different so it is difficult to say how that will affect your claim. If you read here from others they will tell you how your life will be an open book and that you are going be questioned about every detail in it. You may or may not like I said every situation is different. All I can tell you is I have personally and successfully gone through one. The situation was bad however it was not bad because of how people here have portrayed it. Yes there were some personal questions and yes I admittedly had other stressers in my life. None of them compared to what the job was creating though and what I found out was the job stress was actually making the other normal stress in my life almost impossible to deal with. So my advice is get a good therapist that you trust and be open and honest with them. Worked for me.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    18,021

    Default Re: Stop Me if You've Heard This One

    Besides the above responses, why haven't you filed complaints with the local police dept?
    Get a restraining order against this person...not to come within 100...200 feet of your person. That won't affect your job function/performance as you said he works in a different dept.

    A therapist probably isn't what you need, the other person may, but you may need a different work environment. Letting this continue for 9 months is not satisfactory on your ER's part, or yours for that matter. You also are responsibile for protecting your person as well as psyche.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Stop Me if You've Heard This One

    Hello There! Thank you for your very informative replies. Here is what has happened thus far:

    A friend of mine is a labor attorney. After much contemplation, I went to him seeking advice. Basically, his response was basically, "Oh, honey no." He has decided to take on my case and he is referring me to a Worker's Comp attorney in his firm. He told me to get a note from my doctor, which when I went to see him he immediately put me on Worker's Comp, or rather, opened a case and the doctor ordered immediate counseling.

    Under my friend's urging (the attorney), I did file a police report. I live in a very, very small town so we all know each other and because of the nature of my job, I work with him regularly. He was also shocked at how this situation has been handled or rather not handled. He will be getting search warrants for all the hate documentation AND interviewing my fellow co-workers who are so far 100% behind me. As I mentioned, they are in fear of this man's unpredictable behavior as well. So that is in limbo.

    I have decided that I do not want to return to this environment and I have told my attorney this. Because of the conditions, the excessive denial of my bosses and the situation they have continually put me in (not to mention the danger) tells me enough is enough. I have actively been seeking other employment- they just precipitated the need for me to do so. They do not care about me. Now I am afraid nobody will hire me given this situation. I know that somehow it will be my fault because they have always said it was.

    As far as documentation, I have 10 full pages with their words and their actions as well. I know that my life will be an open book. I have thought long and hard about this, but I have nothing to hide. Let them blame my father's death in October for this creepy guy's actions. I feel it necessary and overdue I stand up for myself because my bosses have bullied me in keeping quiet and placating me with their supposed, "we're handling it."

    It's just now I am afraid of finances, insurance and not having a job. I am afraid nobody will hire me and I have aspirations to be a Probation Officer. (I work in a court.) Who will hire me now that I have "mental issues." I have only been off work for 5 days and I am bored to tears. I want to work! I just don't know what the process is but I am sure I will find out soon enough.

    Thank you again for your replies. I am a wreck and the thing is, I didn't ask for this treatment and I sure as hell do not deserve it! What would you do if you were me?

    ETA: We work in a small building, I have already had to be moved per the attacker's request.

    OY.
    Last edited by OhNo; 12-29-2012 at 08:44 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    9,109

    Default Re: Stop Me if You've Heard This One

    Unfortunately workers compensation moves very slowly.
    you should consider relocating in order to attain your employment goals.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Stop Me if You've Heard This One

    Relocating to a different area??? Worker's comp moves slowly? Do they pay one's normal salary until they find a similar paying and benefitted job?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    9,109

    Default Re: Stop Me if You've Heard This One

    Quote Quoting OhNo View Post
    Relocating to a different area??? Worker's comp moves slowly? Do they pay one's normal salary until they find a similar paying and benefitted job?
    I do not know whether you can find acceptable work in your community. you posted that it might be difficult.

    no.
    it may depend on whether there is a union contract or collective bargaining agreement in place.
    some public employees retain full salary for a limited period while out with an accepted work injury. wage replacement is only paid while a doctor has you off work.
    in general, workers comp pays disability not wages.
    your HR department can advise what benefits are available to you.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Stop Me if You've Heard This One

    Quote Quoting .SH View Post
    I do not know whether you can find acceptable work in your community. you posted that it might be difficult.

    no.
    it may depend on whether there is a union contract or collective bargaining agreement in place.
    some public employees retain full salary for a limited period while out with an accepted work injury. wage replacement is only paid while a doctor has you off work.
    in general, workers comp pays disability not wages.
    your HR department can advise what benefits are available to you.
    Oy vey. It will be interesting to find out. We do not have an HR department so I have no idea. Although, the doctor did put me on worker's comp AND my lawyer said my wages will not be affected.

    I am a member of the union but they have not done diddly squat for me. I can understand seeing how the aggressor is part of the same union.

    I just really wish to find another job and to be compensated until I do. They are the ones who have put me in this horrible position. I have communicated every fear and issue to them and gave them every opportunity to do the right thing. I am afraid to go to the grocery store for God's sake!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    18,021

    Default Re: Stop Me if You've Heard This One

    I just really wish to find another job and to be compensated until I do.
    WC does not pay those wage loss benefits.
    TTD/Temporary Total Disability can be paid up to 104 weeks within 5 years of your DOI/Date Of Injury, your Dr doesnt put you on work comp... and once you file the claim, you must treat with a Dr/PTP in the MPN/Medical Provider Network...select a PTP/Primary Treating Physician. As a state employee...SCIF/State Compensation Ins Fund handles your claim. SCIF does have a MPN.
    You cannot continue to treat with your own Dr unless you have predesignated when you were hired, or noticed of the option.

    One of the things you must show is AOE/COE, that the claimed injury Arose Out of your Employment and/or in the Course Of your Employment.
    In a psych claim, your DOI is the first day disability exists.
    my lawyer said my wages will not be affected.
    Has your atty reviewed your union contract...?
    TTD is paid at 66.66% of your AWW/Average Weekly Wage.
    They are the ones who have put me in this horrible position. I have communicated every fear and issue to them and gave them every opportunity to do the right thing.
    This situation should never have continued for NINE months... there may be a serious & willful addition to your comp claim. Talk to your atty about this one.

    Keep in mind too... for you to be paid PPD indemnity benefits, there must be impairment..in a psych claim, that amounts to permanent mental impairment. Once you are out of the perilous situation with this other employee... you " psych" issues will likely resolve.

Similar Threads

  1. Stress Claims in NC Under WC
    By Plaintiff- Charlotte, NC in forum North Carolina
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 03-19-2009, 11:19 AM
  2. Feedback: Reform Idea, RE: Stress & Psychiatric Injury Claims
    By Posttraumatic in forum Reform and Advocacy
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-26-2009, 08:03 AM
  3. Stress-Related Workers Comp and Psych Claims
    By nemitel01 in forum Wisconsin
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 07-19-2007, 09:30 AM
  4. Stress-Related Claims
    By robb in forum Canada
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-03-2003, 10:55 AM
  5. Workplace Stress Claims
    By anonymous in forum Michigan
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-11-2003, 01:30 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
 


Find a Lawyer