- Stress, mental
- Board Directives and Guidelines (stress, mental)
- Referral to Board (stress, mental)
The worker was a child protection worker. The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying entitlement for traumatic mental stress in March 2012.The Panel noted that this case was returned to the Board for reconsideration under s. 13.1(8) of the WSIA, in light of the updated legislation and mental stress policy. The Board reconsidered and upheld denial of entitlement for traumatic mental stress and denied entitlement for chronic mental stress. The Panel also noted that the updated and new policies apply to the case regardless of the date on which the mental stress occurred.Under Board Operational Policy Manual, Document No. 15-03-14, on chronic mental stress, a worker will generally be entitled to benefits if an appropriately diagnosed mental stress injury is caused by a substantial work-related stressor arising out of and in the course of employment. A work-related stressor will generally be considered substantial if it is excessive in intensity and/or duration in comparison to normal pressures and tensions experienced by workers in similar circumstances. Workplace harassment or conduct that a reasonable person would perceive as egregious or abusive, is generally considered to be a substantial work-related stressor. The policy does not allow entitlement for stress relating to employer decisions and actions that are part of the employment function or for interpersonal conflicts that are a typical feature of normal employment.In this case, there was no evidence of significance that the employer engaged in vexatious comment or conduct against the worker. The assignment of a heavy workload did not constitute bullying. Any interpersonal conflict between the worker and her supervisors regarding caseload was not excessive in intensity and/or duration in comparison with normal pressures and tensions experienced by workers in similar circumstances.The job as a child protection worker involved a certain level of stress but there was no evidence of significance that the normal pressures and tensions experienced by the worker were more excessive in intensity and/or duration in comparison with normal pressures and tensions experienced by workers in similar circumstances.In March 2012, the worker engaged in a telephone call with the police regarding the death of an infant. There was no evidence to establish that this telephone call was a substantial work-related stressor.Following the incident in March 2012, the employer requested that the worker attend a best practice review meeting. When the worker advised that she would not attend, the employer sent a letter identifying repercussions to the worker if she refused to participate. Neither the expectation to attend the best practice review meeting nor the letter regarding repercussions for failure to attend was egregious or abusive behaviour. A reasonable person would not perceive the review or the letter as egregious or abusive. The letter constituted disciplinary action that is part of the employment function.The Panel concluded that the worker did not have entitlement for chronic mental stress.Document No. 15-03-02, on traumatic mental stress, provides that a worker has entitlement for traumatic mental stress arising out of and in the course of employment, which includes workplace harassment or traumatic mental stress caused by one or more traumatic workplace events, multiple traumatic cumulative events, or employer decisions or actions that are not part of the employment function.The Panel found that there was no evidence of significance that the worker's claimed stress injury was caused by one or more traumatic events. The worker did not have entitlement for traumatic mental stress.The appeal was dismissed.