In Minnesota, employees can seek workers’ compensation benefits for mental injuries that arise from some stressors at work. While the law expressly prohibits recovery for injuries from certain kinds of stressors, others may lead to strong claims for benefits.
Which Kinds of Stressors Can’t Lead to Workers’ Comp Claims?
The Minnesota law defining an injury for purposes of workers’ compensation explains:
“Mental impairment is not considered a personal injury if it results from a disciplinary action, work evaluation, job transfer, layoff, demotion, promotion, termination, retirement, or similar action taken in good faith by the employer.” Minn. Stat. § 176.011, subd. 16.
In other words, even if you develop a mental injury from being demoted or disciplined at work, you cannot receive workers’ compensation benefits for it. These events are viewed as a normal part of employment, not something outside the expectations of most employees.
Which Kinds of Stressors Could Lead to Workers’ Comp Claims?
On the other hand, some types of stressful events at work are definitely outside the expectations of reasonable employees. Some example include:
- A robbery or active shooter at work
- Witnessing a colleague get seriously injured in a workplace accident
- The employer’s failure to provide training, post-trauma support groups, and individual counseling after a traumatic, violent, or frightening event at work
- The employer’s failure to establish internal complaint procedures and informal dispute resolution methods
- The employer’s failure to address employees’ existing mental and physical health issues in the workplace
- Lack of or improper training for supervisors on management
- Unrealistic goals for employees or lack of performance evaluations
- The employer’s failure to address sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace.
There is a possibility of receiving workers’ compensation for mental injuries due to these types of stressors. Whether an employee does receive benefits may depend on the specific circumstances of the stressor. For example, an employee suffering from PTSD after an active shooter incident might have a stronger case than an employee with anxiety due to a poorly trained supervisor’s yelling. But with the help of an experienced lawyer, the second employee might have a case too. Employees suffering from serious workplace stressors should reach out for legal advice on their individual situations.
Need help getting workers’ compensation for your injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.