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Mental Disease Must Be Related to Specific Occupation
Description Appeals court upheld the rejection of workers' compensation benefits for an employee who claimed that her mental condition was due to stress on the job. She failed to demonstrate that such stress was related to the occupation rather than to her personality as it related to her job.
Topic Employment Law
Key Words Workers' Compensation; Mental Disease
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts King worked for the school bus division of a public school district for two years. She filed a claim for workers' compensation, alleging that she suffered from an occupation disease of "nervous breakdown" from being worked too hard. Her psychiatrist said she suffered from depression and general disorders as a result of extreme stress on the job. Another doctor gave the same diagnosis, but said that the disorders were not caused by working. The Compensation Commission denied the claim, finding that "the claimant did not sustain an occupational disease (stress) arising out of and in the court of employment." She appealed.
Decision Affirmed. King failed to show that there were hazards inherent in her occupation; rather she contended that she suffered from mental problems. The fact that one suffers from mental problems does not mean that the problems are inherent in the occupation. Compensation is not provided for any mental stress, it must be related to the specifics of the occupation in which a person is engaged.
Citation King v. Board of Education of Prince George's County, 731 A.2d 460 (Ct. App., Mary., 1999)

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