Chipotle Employees are complaining. A $3 burrito hack was driving them mad. It was reported that employees may have been getting frustrated over a company customization plan. A customer and possible magician figured out how to turn a taco into a burrito. This was perhaps done at the expense of the workers’ sanity. In a Chipotle statement from CAO Laurie Schalow, it was noted that “[w]hile we have long embraced customizations and even released our own hack menu, the current social media trend is resulting in a poor experience for our food, our employees and our customers waiting for orders,” Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Laurie Schalow told the outlet in a statement. nypost.com
Reading between the lines, it would appear that Chipotle Workers may have been experiencing stress. If this stress gave rise to an emotional injury, would it be a work injury?
Can A Company Policy Give Rise to A Work-Related Stress Injury?
Yes. A company policy, if it causes an emotional injury, can be a valid workers’ compensation claim. The key issue would be whether the policy would be considered a non-discriminatory good faith personnel action.
California Law has Labor Code Section 3208.3. It provides under section (b) (1) that “In order to establish that a psychiatric injury is compensable, an employee shall demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that actual events of employment were predominant as to all causes combined of the psychiatric injury.” The personnel action defense is per section (h) that “[n]o compensation under this division shall be paid by an employer for a psychiatric injury if the injury was substantially caused by a lawful, nondiscriminatory, good faith personnel action. The burden of proof shall rest with the party asserting the issue.”
In this instance, the policy was no disciplinary toward employees. Rather, it was a policy that apparently created an annoyance.
What if I Need Advice?
If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for 27 years. Contact us today for more information.