Alleged ‘Harassment’ Not Compensable for New Jersey Security Guard

By | January 12, 2011

A New Jersey woman who claimed the stress of her work as a hospital security guard left her with a psychiatric disability cannot collect workers’ compensation benefits, a state judge has ruled.

The case centered on the allegation by the woman — referred to as J. T. in legal documents — that the stressful environment and harassed created by one of her supervisors in particular left her unable to work.

Among the stressful situations identified by the woman, who was working at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey: being asked to remove a blanket which she had wrapped around herself while watching the emergency room; being told she had used too many sick days; her belief that other guards were allowed to take longer breaks; and being questioned about leaving her guard post a half hour early.

The court found that the woman, now living in Florida and working as a hospital security guard, failed to demonstrate that any of her allegations resulted in a compensable, psychiatric disability.

“(C)orrecting the performance of an underling such as ordering her to remove the blanket, warning her of sick leave infractions and ordering her to remain at her station is inherent to employment and therefore, any psychiatric injuries alleged by petitioner could not be regarded as ‘work-related’ or ‘arising out of employment’ or was ‘peculiar’ to J.T.’s work place within the meaning of Workers’ Compensation Act,” wrote Compensation Judge Sue Pai Yang.

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