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Stress cited as reason for Uber employee’s suicide

When most in Los Angeles hear stories regarding workers’ compensation claims, they may likely assume them to involve injuries suffered while on the job. While that may be the case in many situations, such an assumption may fail to take into account the emotional toll that one’s career can exact. Such a toll may result in psychological or emotional issues that can be equally as damaging as physical injuries. Unfortunately, securing workers’ compensation benefits for stress and psychological issues may not be as simple as it is when dealing with typical work-related injuries.

Take the recent case of a young mother attempting to collect workers’ compensation benefits following her husband’s suicide at their home in Pittsburgh. She (as well as others) claim that his death was brought on by the emotional stress he had been experiencing since taking a job as a software engineer at Uber. The man’s family and friends claim that the company’s culture, which has already come under scrutiny in claims filed by past employees, drove him to work long hours and ultimately lose his confidence. The man himself had confirmed the stress he was feeling to a psychiatrist shortly before his death.

Following his suicide, his wife sought workers’ compensation benefits, but was denied due to the fact California law does not require employers to cover psychiatric injuries until one has been with a company for six months. Her husband had only been with Uber for less than five months when he died. Currently, she is working to challenge that decision citing an exception clause that allows benefits to be extended in cases involving “a sudden and extraordinary employment condition.” Those hoping to collect benefits in similar situations may be wise to enlist the assistance of an attorney when doing so.

Source: The San Francisco Chronicle “Suicide of an Uber engineer: Widow blames job stress” Said, Carolyn, Apr. 25, 2017

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