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Can I receive Workers Comp or unemployment?

Davenport, IA |

I walked off my job due to high anxiety. Communicated Stress levels with manager before incident occurred. I still have my job, but told them I fear putting patients at risk because of high anxiety and stress levels, I would rather not work til we can have a meeting with HR. I was told I would have to call in ill. I have now called in 4 days plus the day I walked out. I have a request for a leave of absence. I have sent messages and spoke with them on the phone twice. Last time I heard anything was nearly a week ago. I have went to a counselor, I scheduled to see a Dr. tomorrow for treatment (as suggested by the counselor), told my work I was more than willing to have a meeting and informed my work of all of this and still nothing. What are my options, if any?

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In Iowa, you may have a workers compensation claim based on your emotional/stress injury. You would have to prove that the mental injury "was caused by work place stress of greater magnitude than day-to-day mental stress experienced by other workers employed in the same or similar jobs". The viability of the claim turns on the circumstances of the stress and anxiety and basis for the same. I think one thing you need to do is do a short letter to provide to your employer that you believe you have sustained a work related injury and would like to be provided workers compensation benefits. This is the notice that you should provide to them as soon as possible. This way they will not be in a position to claim they did not know you were claiming a work related injury. If your counselor or doctor believes you need to stay off work as a result of the stress, you should obtain a work release from them and present that to the employer also. If your counselor or doctor will indicate that the need to stay off work is related to your employment stress, that may be helpful in getting your benefits started by the workers compensation carrier. Understand that ultimately the workers compensation carrier decides which doctor you are to go to for an accepted workers compensation injury. I would refer you to this website for additional information concering Iowa Workers Compensation Laws-


I am a California attorney and not eligible to give legal advice in your state. My comments are for information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT PROVIDE SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I refer to your state's laws, that only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that appeared relevant. You should not rely on any comment I make regarding your state's law. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state.

I am not commenting on any workers' compensation aspect of your case. I write to make sure you are aware you may have rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. sections 12101 et seq. (ADA). Many on-the-job injuries meet the definition of "disability" under the ADA. If they do, you may be entitled to reasonable accommodation for your disability. This would require the employer to alter the way work is done so that you are able to perform the main parts of your job. Your rights under the ADA are separate from any rights you may have under workers' compensation.

Please look at my Avvo guide on the ADA:

You may also have rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. section 2101 et seq. (FMLA). To be eligible under the FMLA, all of the following must be true: (1) your employer has at least 50 employees who work within 75 miles of one another; (2) you have worked for this same employer for a total of one year, even if not consecutively; (3) you have worked for this employer for at least 1,250 hours in the immediately preceding year; and (4) your medical condition meets the definition of “serious medical condition” under the family leave laws. Your rights under the FMLA are separate from any rights you may have under workers' compensation.

Please look at my Avvo guide on the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. section 2101 et seq. (FMLA):

*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***