Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 207 20
12/03/2020
C. Ramsay - D. Thomson - C. Salama
  • Stress, mental
  • Accident (date) (disablement)
  • Referral to Board (stress, mental)

The worker started working for the employer in 1992. In September 1999, he submitted a claim to the Board for mental stress related to occurrences at work whereby he was not provided with promised compensation and promotions, and received warnings and other discipline. The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying entitlement.

In a preliminary matter, the Panel considered whether the claim should be referred back to the Board in accordance with the provisions of s. 13.1(8) of the WSIA. The Panel agreed with Decision No. 1892/18I that, according to s. 13.1(1), the transitional provisions in s. 13.1(8) only apply for the purposes of determining entitlement to benefits under s. 13(4) of the WSIA. In this case, the worker sought treatment on December 2, 1997, based on events that transpired over the years leading up to December 1997, and he stopped working on December 20, 1997. He was not diagnosed at that time, but the Panel was satisfied that he experienced a disabling physical or functional abnormality or loss due to a disablement by December 2, 1997.
The date of accident was in December 1997. Accordingly, the provisions of the pre-1997 Act were applicable, and s. 13.1(8) of the WSIA was not applicable. Therefore, the appeal was not referred back to the Board.
The Panel found it reasonable that an average person would experience stress if one perceived that work that performed was not compensated for, or one was passed over for promotions. Further, the Panel found that the worker's discipline would cause an average person stress. However, the Panel found that the average worker would have been dismayed, disappointed, or angry regarding the events at work, but would not have developed a disabling mental reaction, as not being paid for work; receiving discipline letters and being passed over for promotions, while disappointing, would not be expected to be traumatic or disabling to the average worker.
The worker had pre-existing, and underlying personality traits in the form of paranoid personality traits, which pre-dated the workplace events with the accident employer. The worker did not develop a psychological disorder as a result of the workplace events.
The appeal was dismissed.