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Pennsylvania: “No-Holds-Barred” Meeting Leads to Compensable PTSD Claim

January 01, 2022 (1 min read)

The evidence supported a WCJ’s finding that a “no-holds-barred” meeting, at which a former police officer was singled out for criticism, and which digressed into an abusive, vulgar, shouting match, was an extraordinary and unusual event, such that the officer’s mental injury claim for PTSD was compensable, held a Pennsylvania appellate court in an unreported decision. The court acknowledged that the officer could not prevail in her mental injury claim if the stresses that she faced were not extraordinary and unusual, or if they resulted from ordinary disciplinary actions on the part of her employer. Here, however, the court said the meeting was the last of a series of events that created a psychiatric/psychological injury to the claimant. The WCJ found the claimant’s testimony was credible when she stated that she had never heard of a no-holds-barred meeting being held before, and that such meetings were not a part of police procedure. Other officers admitted that no-holds-barred meetings did not occur regularly and that the meeting was unusual. These facts, found by the WCJ and supported by the record, supported the WCJ’s legal conclusion that the meeting was an abnormal working condition, even for a police officer whose employment required her to work in a very stressful environment.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the co-Editor-in-Chief and Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law(LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See City of Harrisburg v. Shuff, 2021 Pa. Commw. Unpub. LEXIS 605 (Dec. 3, 2021)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 56.04.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law

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