27 Feb 2021

Reasons Claims are Denied #4 – “Workplace Conflict”

Conflicts with co-workers and management are regular occurrences in all manner of workplaces throughout Canada. Disputes with co-workers can arise over personality clashes, jealousy, gossip/backbiting, sexual harassment and competition. Disputes with supervisors and management can occur as a result of unfair performance reviews, salary and bonus issues, overtime, and excessive workloads. Whatever the reason, workplace conflicts can potentially cause a tremendous amount stress and anxiety.

Unfortunately, workplace conflicts can also have very serious mental health ramifications. For some people they can result in serious anxiety disorders, major depression, psychiatric trauma, and other psychiatric conditions. Even with medication and treatment by a specialist, these disabilities can be long-term in nature and completely prevent a person from being able to return to work.

Long-term disability insurance companies will often reject disability claims relating to workplace conflicts. Primarily, the insurance company takes the position that the employee is only away from work as a result of the workplace conflict and is not truly disabled. They argue that the employee is capable of working in a different environment or with a different employer.

From a legal standpoint, almost all LTD policies are occupation-specific, not workplace-specific. The policy provides for benefits when an employee is not able to perform the duties of their occupation – regardless of that employee’s particular workplace. For example, a teacher would not qualify for disability benefits if she is found to be fully capable of teaching at another school.

However, insurance companies often fail to grasp that a psychiatric disability caused by a workplace conflict is a legitimate disability that can completely prevent an employee from performing job duties in any work environment. Employees who suffer from major depression or a generalized anxiety disorder are not magically cured by simply working with another company or with different co-workers. They have serious mental impairments that prevent them from concentrating and functioning in any working capacity.

If your insurance company has denied your short-term or long-term disability claim on the grounds of a “workplace conflict”, do not give up. A court of law may strongly disagree with the insurance company’s position and award you disability benefits.

Contact Ontario disability lawyer Mark Yazdani today for a free consultation regarding your legal rights.