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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.

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.



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