Two Microsoft employees have sued their employer alleging that they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder because their job required them to watch horrific internet videos portraying brutality, murder, beastiality, and even child pornography. Both men filed lawsuits in King County, Washington, seeking damages for negligence, disability discrimination, and violations of the Consumer Protection Act. The men allege that Microsoft involuntarily transferred them to its online safety program, where they reviewed online videos to identify and report illegal content. Their lawsuits are currently ongoing at this time, and it remains to be seen how they will be decided under Washington law. However, under Alabama law, it is clear that the employees would have no remedy upon which to base an award of damages for their post-traumatic stress.
First, §§25-5-53 and 25-5-54 of the Alabama Workers' Compensation Act provide that workers' compensation benefits are the employee's sole legal remedy for injuries occurring in and arising out of the employment. Additionally, mental injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder are only compensable if accompanied by physical injury under Alabama law. Therefore, as horrible as the their jobs must have been, they would not have any grounds upon which to recover damages if they worked in Alabama.
About the Author
This article was written by Charley M. Drummond, Esq. of Fish Nelson & Holden, LLC. Fish Nelson & Holden is a law firm located in Birmingham, Alabama dedicated to representing employers, self-insured employers, and insurance carriers in workers’ compensation cases and related liability matters. Drummond and his firm are members of The National Workers’ Compensation Defense Network (NWCDN). The NWCDN is a national and Canadian network of reputable law firms organized to provide employers and insurers access to the highest quality representation in workers’ compensation and related employer liability fields. If you have questions about this article or Alabama workers’ compensation issues in general, please feel free to contact the author at email@example.com or (205) 332-3414.