Thursday, 21 March 2019


POST TRAMATIC STRESS DISORDER – PTSD IN THE WORKPLACE GETTING REDRESS!

I again want to apologize for not keep up with the blog and the content on the website. I have been crazy busy with school and my two applications to the Supreme Court of Canada to appeal Two Court of Appeal for Ontario Decisions.   



I have pulled myself away for a minute to writ this quick blog to maybe help you think in a slightly different way about PTSD and how to get redress or justice.



I like to describe to people that there are four types of work injuries:



Physical injuries:


First there are what we all commonly known as physical injuries. These can be visible a missing leg or arm or indivisible nerve damage.



Psychological Injuries:

Second there are psychological injuries. These are injuries that happen to our mind.
Note that many times people may suffer a head injury, but one would consider that a physical injury
as it causes physical damage to the brain.    



Sudden Injuries:

Third a subcategory of either one or two above, which is a sudden injury. For example, in the case of a physical injury, you had something fall on you. Or in the case of a psychological injury you had a sudden traumatic event. For example, watching a co-worker die. The sudden injury is somewhat easier to prove as oppose to the next.  



Overtime Injuries:

The fourth is the overtime injury. In the case of physical injuries commonly refer to as a repetitive strain injury – RSI. This is when you suffer a physical injury from performing a repetitive task over time. For example, a wrist and hand injury from repetitive data entry work. The other type of over time injury is now commonly referred to as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD. This is when a person is routine exposed to traumatic events or stressful events. For example, a 911 operator, a first responder, an air traffic controller, or a worker being routinely harassed and bullied at work.



Whether you agree with these definitions or not. I think we need to better understand the types of
injuries so we can best find ways to fight for all our benefits as injured workers. Also, we need to know all options available to us a people. For example, recently workplace bullying, which is an overtime psychological injury or commonly known as PTSD, has become a major issue. As previous these workers who were victimized would be just told they are weak. This caused them to be re-victimized, much like the rape victim in the trial when the judge questions her actions that she could have reduced or prevent the rape. Shameful! My point here is that there maybe several options to injured workers who suffer workplace harassment especially when they employer knows of it and takes no remedial action.



The recourse available to a worker who has been harassed and bullied in the workplace has several options and obviously you want to take the best option, so it is always best to discuss all options with your representative.



Option 1 – Apply for WCB Benefits:
You can and most definitely have a right to apply for workers compensation benefits. Afterall, this is an injury, which occurred in the course of employment. This injury also occurred overtime and has
caused damage to your psychological well-being. This will provide you with replacement income and possible retraining options for a different field of work, as well as medical coverage. The issue will be proving that your condition was work related and that you have a psychological injury. This is best done by mental health experts such as a psychologist or psychiatrist.



Option 2 – Human Rights Complaint:

If you wish legal redress in addition to or in place of filing for workers compensation benefits you can file a complaint with the Provincial or Federal Human Rights Tribunal/Commission. If you intend to file a human rights complaint you must first establish whether it is Provincial/Territorial or Federal jurisdiction. For most cases, but not all, banks, railroad, federal government employees, Canada Post workers, and transport are all considered under Federal jurisdiction. You can easily ask the Provincial/Territorial Human Rights Tribunal/Commission to determine if you would file a complaint with them or not. Be careful to note in some cases where you work for an employment agency it is how that agency is categorized and not how the employer client.

In considering a human rights complaint you can also opt for filing a civil suit. Note that you can file one or the other but not both.

Also note that there are time limits to filing a complaint with Human Rights Tribunal/Commission. It
is usually within one year of when you realized the violation occurred or last incident. Many people believe this time limit is absolute. However, if one can prove deception (the company told you that you can not file a complaint) or that you were not mentally capable at the time to file a complaint you may be able to ask to have the time extended.

The benefits of the Tribunal are that they are: less formal than a court; you don’t need a lawyer or paralegal, although it is strongly advisable; and have the tribunal may have no limits for their damage awards, but rarely award high damages.

You can also consider taking legal action against your employer for wrongful dismissal based on constructive dismissal in civil court.



Option 3 – Civil Action:

If you wish legal redress in addition to or in place of filing for workers compensation benefits you can file a civil action against your employer. In this case depending on the amount you wish to claim, will depend on the court you must file in. In many Provinces/territories they have Small Claims Court with limits and anything over that limit must then be done in the higher court (Superior/Supreme/Queens Bench). For example, in Ontario the Small Claims Court limit is presently $25,000, which is separate of court costs and disbursements (Court costs and disbursements is what you paid to your lawyer, paralegal to bring the action to court). However, if you wish to bring a claim in Small Claims Court you can waive anything over the limit, which means you lose anything over the $25,000 limit.

Please realize it is important to win your case. If you lose your case, you will have to pay your lawyer/paralegal and you may also be awarded to pay the other sides court costs. Therefore, you need to make sure you have if possible good quality credible witnesses and if possible good quality evidence. You also must establish that your employer committed a wrong and that the evidence proves this, which is more than just your word. Pretend like everything you say is not believed. Then build a case with physical concrete clear evidence and witnesses and then provide all this to your lawyer/paralegal. Lawyers/paralegals represent you they generally do not build your case for you, you must do that.



I hope I have opened the door for people to better understand their options within the law, as how I see it and of course it is ALWAYS best to seek proper legal advice before deciding anything! It is always good to be aware of your options and don’t be afraid to ask your lawyer/paralegal questions. Please remember this is not legal advice but personal opinions based on my life experiences with my workplace injury.   


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