July 2020 Bar Bulletin
By Karen Sutherland
The stress of being an essential worker during the coronavirus pandemic has been widely recognized through “hero pay,” pizza and cupcake deliveries to hospital employees, fire truck parades, and 7:00 pm shout-outs. But what about the mental health toll of all that stress? If employees develop post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, or similar conditions, are they eligible for workers’ compensation (industrial insurance) benefits?
LaRose v. Department of Labor & Industries1 answers these questions, and the answer is “no” for most employees unless the condition arose from exposure to a single, traumatic event.
A short history of Workers’ Comp law as it relates to stress...