Last week, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that a claim for mental disorder from a worker who claimed emotional and mental abuse was not compensable.
In April 2017, Audrey King, a software validation engineer at UST Global, and 40 other employees were assigned to work on a project described as "fast, hectic, chaotic and stressful," according to documents in In the Matter of the Compensation of Audrey J. King, filed in the Oregon Court of Appeal in Salem
Ms. King and her supervisor, identified as "Dash", began to have difficulties shortly after they started working together on the project, King testified, saying that she began to experience symptoms of a mental disorder in mid-May 201
Ms. . King began seeing a clinical psychologist the following month because of what she described as "an extremely stressful work situation" and symptoms including hair loss and inability to sleep, according to documents. The clinical psychologist determined that King was suffering from an "adjustment disorder with anxiety" due to a "hostile and abnormal work environment."
Ms King was fired on August 25, 2017 due to a staff reduction. Three days later, she filed a claim for damages, which was rejected by an administrative court judge and the State Work Injuries Board.
Following an appeal, King submitted the psychologist's opinion that her "hostile and abnormal work environment" was the cause of her mental disorder, citing causal factors including lack of suitable workplace, altered and inconsistent management, Dash's apparent attempt to undermine Ms. King and occasions when the supervisor addressed her. Several employees testified that Dash did not respect or treat Ms. King yes.
A second psychologist also diagnosed King with an adjustment disorder with anxiety, but suggested that if the first psychologist ignored her prescription weight loss medication, which would have negatively affected her ability to assess the extent to which her weight loss was due to stress from work . The other psychologist further attributed a larger part of King's need to "a tendency to react strongly to conflicts and stress." Catalog