As a Minnesota worker, you may wonder what workers’ compensation laws and other statutes and regulations provide when it comes to protecting you against injuries and illnesses incurred on the job. Laws governing an employer’s responsibility to reasonably protect workers from physical injury are fairly well established in Minnesota and elsewhere across the United States. The same cannot be said of laws regarding protection from an emotional injury in the workplace.
Minnesota workers’ compensation laws and emotional injury
Minnesota workers’ compensation laws do contain provisions for providing compensation to a worker who develops a mental health condition as a result of something that happens in the workplace. The reality is that the nature and extent of that compensable coverage is fairly narrow.
Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 is the most significant law on the books in the United States governing the protection of workers in the workplace. The reality is that this law provides worker protections against physical harm and not emotional injury, as a general rule. While it is conceivable that an emotional injury might ultimately result in death, making a case for compensation under this law in such a situation is a hard sell.
Present day litigation
There are some cases that have reached the judicial system addressing a business’ responsibility to protect contract workers from emotional injury in the workplace. Technically speaking, the pair of predominate cases involving workplace emotional injury do not concern direct employees of a business. In any event, one case has been settled out of court. The other case currently is pending.