A former University of Northern Iowa (UNI) professor filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, claiming years of mistreatment by colleagues and administrators forced her to have a mental health breakdown. Now, a workers’ comp commissioner has ruled in the case.
The commissioner ruled Linda Sharp should not receive workers’ comp benefits because most experts who reviewed her case didn’t specifically blame her work-related stress for her breakdown. Another expert was found not to be credible.
Sharp had been a music instructor at UNI’s Malcolm Price Laboratory School.
She resigned in December in exchange for $210,000 in cash plus healthcare coverage for two years. Sharp also agreed to drop a lawsuit against the university, but she was allowed to continue to pursue her workers’ comp claim.
Sharp was seeking weekly benefits of $644 for tension headaches, anxiety attacks, problems sleeping and nightmares that made it impossible for her to work in most settings.
In his ruling, the workers’ comp commissioner noted that Sharp had a history of mental health problems before her work environment became difficult.
Sharp’s lawyer says her client is considering an appeal.
Under what conditions should an employee be able to get workers’ comp benefits for mental stress on the job? Let us know what you think in the Comments Box below.