NY: Benefits Denied to Worker Who Claimed Customer Yelling Caused Hearing Loss

NEW YORK, NY - In a ruling last month, the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, Third Department, reversed a decision of the Workers' Compensation Board, which had ruled that the claimant, who held various customer-related positions between 1987 and her retirement in 2005, had a 20.4% schedule loss of use for binaural loss of hearing due to long-term noise exposure "from being on the telephone for years" where customers would yell or scream at her during these phone conversations.

The court said claimant's description of the actual noise level, which was not measured, was simply too vague and imprecise to establish that it was in fact injurious. Moreover, even accepting that claimant was exposed to injurious noise while working for the employer, the court nonetheless agreed with the defense that claimant failed to demonstrate a causal connection between her hearing loss and her employment.

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lexisONE free case law users (free registration) can access the case here using this citation: 2010 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 2973