This case involves a 16 year employee of Antelope Valley Community College who worked as a Network Manager. He filed a Cumulative Trauma claim ending on 04/11/2013 alleging psychiatric injury due to “conditions at work”. The problems with claimant were long standing but when a director of IT Department was replaced, he started to follow the strict policies regarding performance issues, absenteeism, request for time off etc. The claimant took this as hostile, and became insubordinate toward the new IT director.
Eventually had anxiety, and other physical symptoms and saw his private (non-worker’s compensation physician) and reported work related stress which manifested as physical symptoms. Claimant was taken off work and never returned. Subsequently he was terminated for not reporting to work, and not following the protocols of the leave of absence program. Claimant hired an attorney and filed his application post-termination. The case was denied AOE/COE due to employer level investigation post-termination, and good faith personnel action.
The parties obtained a med-legal evaluation per Labor Code 4060. The initial report by the med-legal evaluator found injury AOE/COE. Subsequently, Defendant through careful analysis of the various records and reports, inaccuracies of the events, prior history etc., submitted additional evidence for the physician to review. These included personnel records, evidence of non-industrial factors (protracted and bitter divorce, as well as evidence of family stressors). These evidence contradicted claimant’s version of events and history of claimed injury as reported by the claimant to the med-legal evaluator physician, which included evidence of prior misconduct, prior non-industrial issues (which the claimant did not either report to the physician or downplayed the significance of the same).
The med-legal evaluator then issued a supplemental comprehensive report, and changed his opinion completely, now finding good faith non-discriminatory personnel action. The physician also pointed out the various inaccuracies reported by the claimant as compared to the other evidence that were provided to the physician by Defendant. The case went to trial in 2015. Applicant was confronted with the same inconsistencies at Trial. Moreover, the Defense witness was effectively questioned at Trial. Based on the totality of evidence including testimony by applicant, testimony by defense witness, as well as the med-legal reporting, the Worker’s Compensation Appeals Board judge found no injury AOE/COE based on good faith non-discriminatory personnel action.
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