Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 1212 13
22/08/2013
S. Martel - E. Tracey - J. Crocker
  • Stress, mental
  • Telephone operator

The worker was the operations supervisor of a 911 communication centre. The employer appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer granting the worker entitlement for traumatic mental stress arising from an incident on January 1, 2008.

The centre received a call on January 1 from a bystander who found a stabbed young woman. The woman subsequently died. The worker did not take the call but was aware that the call was taking place. The victim was the daughter of a co-worker that the worker had supervised in the past. About one hour after the call, a homicide detective contacted the worker in order to listen to the taped call. As per standard procedure, the worker listened to the taped call with the detective. The worker finished her shift but left early the next day because she was too emotional.
The Panel found that the worker suffered an acute reaction to a sudden and unexpected traumatic event arising out of and in the course of employment. The worker's job duties often involved listening to calls of a traumatic nature but this particular call was unexpected as a result of the personal connection the worker had with the victim's family. The call was traumatic because the victim was alive when the call took place.
The worker had entitlement for traumatic mental stress. The appeal was allowed.