depressed woman sitting on the floor of a dark room


A Washington Post Journalist on a MSNBC Meet the Press TV Broadcast revealed that“online harassment targeting her and her family caused her to experience “severe PTSD” and contemplate suicide in the recent past.”   “The MSNBC coverage aimed to detail brutal harassment faced by female journalists — noting data that showed 73% reported experiencing online attacks while doing their jobs.”It is reported that, after the broadcast, she has faced “even worse” treatment the segment.  She reported “If your segment or story on ‘online harassment’ leads to even worse online harassment for your subjects, you f—ed up royally and should learn how to cover these things properly before ever talking about them again.” nypost.comThis fact pattern is interesting with respect to the issue employer notification of injury.   Also, it is important with respect to issues of causation and apportionment.

Can This Journalist’s Television Interview Constitute Notice of Claim?

Possibly.  First, if the interview connected the PTSD to her job, it could constitute a connection of the PTSD to her work duties.   Second, her employer would have had watched the program.   If she had expressed connection, ie my job gave me PTSD, and her boss watched the program, there would be notice of a claimed injury for which her employer should notify their workers’ compensation carrier and provide the journalist a claim form.

This action is based upon Labor Code Section 5402, which provides “(a) Knowledge of an injury, obtained from any source, on the part of an employer, his or her managing agent, superintendent, foreman, or other person in authority, or knowledge of the assertion of a claim of injury sufficient to afford opportunity to the employer to make an investigation into the facts, is equivalent to service under Section 5400.”

Why Is Notice of Injury Important?

Under Labor Code Section 5402(b) “If liability is not rejected within 90 days after the date the claim form is filed under Section 5401 , the injury shall be presumed compensable under this division.  The presumption of this subdivision is rebuttable only by evidence discovered subsequent to the 90-day period.”

If The Journalist Didn’t Really Have PTSD, Would It Matter?

No.  Notice of claimed injury is about a “claimed” injury.  It is not about an actual injury.  Thus, a “claimed injury” whether actual or not is the basis for which a claims’ file should be opened.  At that point, it is the Workers’ Compensation Carrier which must investigate.

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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