Can I claim worker's compensation for depression and anxiety brought on by a supervisor after being terminated from my job?

Asked over 2 years ago - Sacramento, CA

For two years in California I worked for an acute psychiatric unit as an intake nurse of high acuity clients on legal holds. My immediate supervisor constantly berated and called staff horrible names and made me feel as though I was below inadequate. My supervisor’s treatment of me finally resulted in a total mental breakdown causing me literally days in bed suffering from severe anxiety and depression. I was unable to communicate with anyone for any reason. I called to establish emergency medical leave. The company sent me via certified mail medical leave papers to be signed by an MD. The address was wrong so I never received the paperwork. I was ultimately terminated for abandonment. Do I have a legal "leg" to stand on as far as claiming worker's compensation?

I now have no medical insurance or income and stand to lose everything I have if I cannot get this workers’ comp.

Thank you Christine for responding. I have learned since my termination that the supervisor I spoke of has been terminated. Also several months before this all came to a head I faxed six pages of formal complaint forms to cooperate that basically outlined the verbal abuse.

Now the company in CA has denied my unemployment benefits I learned a few days ago that a nurse who resigned a few weeks before my medical leave was given unemployment and received severance pay. The company initially denied her claim as well.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Brett A. Borah

    Contributor Level 20


    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . Normally, you cannot file a workers' compensation claim after you have been terminated from a job. One of the few exceptions to the rule is if you have what we call cumulative trauma or ongoing wear and tear over a period of time. That sounds like what you have so I think you fall within the exception.

    These claims can be tricky: you are post termination, you have an injury to your psyche and you have a cumulative trauma claim. I recommend you consult with a good workers' comp. attorney before doing anything. There are some great W.C. attorneys in Sacramento. Find a good one here at or at CAAA is the association for attorneys here in California who represent injured workers. Or you can call me for a referral. Good luck.

  2. Christine C McCall


    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . I am adding some categories to your post because I am not convinced that there are not some potentially viable employment issues. Perhaps one or more of the really gifted employment attorneys who participate regularly here will make some worthy suggestions to you in addition to the worker's compensation advice that you have asked for.

    My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice.... more
  3. Jemal K Yarbrough

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . Based on your narrative, you may have an employment claim for wrongful termination and violation of the FMLA. You need to consult an employment lawyer regarding the specifics of your case.

    Nothing contained in this communication is intended to be, or shall be deemed as, legal advice, counsel, or... more

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