Fly in your bisque?

Skill testing question:

Which of the following would NOT be considered a traumatic incident by WCB standards?

A) Being a victim of robbery in the workplace
B) Witnessing the death of a co-worker
C) Providing aid to victims of severe physical trauma
D) Discovering a fruit fly in your tomato bisque
E) Any of the above could give rise to a claim

If you answered D, you made a valiant attempt. But in fact, the correct answer is E. Choice D was the correct answer in 2017, but by virtue of Bill 30’s passage, choice D could satisfy legislative criteria for claim acceptance. In the past, WCB referred to Mustapha v Culligan Ltd. to define the parameters of a traumatic incident. Mustapha, the plaintiff, developed major depressive disorder after seeing a dead fly inside an unopened water bottle. He sued for resultant psychiatric harm. But the presiding judge ruled that no reasonable person would suffer mental harm due to this relatively minor incident.

Following the Mustapha verdict, WCB adopted a similarly stringent test for defining trauma. Flash forward a decade however, and WCB now takes a much broader view. Employers beware, as excessive workload, witnessing a social injustice, or even a feud with a co-worker can constitute grounds for a costly claim.

Call (780)-340-5727 to speak with our 541 Eagleson Wynd, Edmonton T6M 0Y4 team for free.
Ben Barfett

Ben Barfett

Ben Barfett, Principal and Consultant, has spent his life in the construction sector, specifically heavy civil, enviro, commercial, and energy. Having held senior roles in business development, technical advisory, and regional management, he earned his stripes in the field and in head office. Conscious of the interplay between commercial, legal, and execution aspects of construction, his business insights are informed by expertise in WCB policy and enhanced with disability-specific training.

Ben Barfett

Ben Barfett

Ben Barfett, Principal and Consultant, has spent his life in the construction sector, specifically heavy civil, enviro, commercial, and energy. Having held senior roles in business development, technical advisory, and regional management, he earned his stripes in the field and in head office. Conscious of the interplay between commercial, legal, and execution aspects of construction, his business insights are informed by expertise in WCB policy and enhanced with disability-specific training.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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