Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 485 21
20/04/2021
B. Kalvin - C. Sacco - A. Signoroni
  • Board Directives and Guidelines (stress, mental) (chronic)
  • Stress, mental (chronic)

In April 2017, the worker's employer discovered that her co-worker had been tracking her movements and keeping a computer log documenting the times she arrived and left work, took breaks, and went to the washroom. The employer concluded that the co-worker's conduct did not constitute criminal wrongdoing, nor was it in breach of the employer's policies. The employer told the co-worker to stop or further action would be taken and moved him to another building, although he still had access to the worker's building. As a result of these incidents, the worker developed emotional and psychological symptoms and was diagnosed with a major depressive disorder, other specified trauma and stressor-related disorder, and a general anxiety disorder. The worker's claim for chronic mental stress was denied and the worker appealed.

The appeal was allowed. There was no dispute that the diagnostic requirements of the Board's Chronic Mental Stress policy were satisfied, and the psychologist's report made clear that the workplace incidents were the predominant cause of the worker's diagnosed condition. The policy provided an exception to the bar on entitlement for interpersonal conflicts for conduct that a reasonable person would perceive as egregious or abusive. A reasonable person would regard sustained and unauthorized surveillance of a co-worker's movements and activities as egregious or abusive conduct. It was perfectly reasonable that the worker experienced fear, anxiety, and concern for her personal safety. In addition, the co-worker's supervisor stated that the co-worker had anger management issues and the supervisor was concerned for the worker's safety.