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Archive for July, 2013

Can Workers Comp Benefits be Awarded for Emotional Trauma?

July 5th, 2013 at 8:00 am

bullyWorker’s compensation consists of benefits that can be awarded to workers who receive injuries while on the job.  This is also a way for business to be protected by lawsuits because by taking the benefits, the injured party waives their rights to seek compensatory damages.  But what if the injuries are not physical but emotional instead?

Recently, a man decided to sue his former employee because of the harassment he received at work.  The suit was against Chicago-based inventory services company RGIS Inc.  It was alleged that while employed there, Frederick Schroeder was on the receiving end of negative comments about his sexual orientation.

After his supervisor embarrassed Schroeder by calling him a slur in front of coworkers, Schroeder decided to quit.  RGIS tried to repair the issue by rehiring Schroeder to a different location and by investigating the issues with his previous manager.

This turned out to be a bad situation for Schroeder.  The new location that he had to report to was two hours away from his home.  And due to the weird hours required for his inventory position, he would have to sleep on the office floor in between working 20 hour days.  The situation became unworkable because between the commute and work, Schroeder was extremely exhausted.

In 2010, Schroeder resigned from RGIS again.  He felt that they did not respond to his complaints about his work schedule.  He also claimed that RGIS never followed through with the investigation of his former supervisor.  Schroeder brought a lawsuit against RGIS because the stressful work environment caused severe mental anguish, humiliation, loss of income and other damages.

An Illinois circuit judge ruled that the lawsuit would not be able to move forward because the injuries Schroeder sustained were from his work schedule.  As such RGIS was not responsible for damages because of workers compensation exclusive remedy provisions.  If you have any questions about your rights as an employee or what is considered a workers comp issue, contact an experienced workers comp lawyer in DuPage County today.

image courtesy of  Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

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