In a published decision the court discusses “good faith personnel action” under Labor Code section 3208.3(h)

The applicant was a supervising probation officer. The applicant counseled two officers which resulted in an internal affairs investigation. The applicant became upset and filed a psychiatric claim.

The parties went to an Agreed Medical Examiner (AME) who found the claim compensable. The Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) and the Workers Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) determined after multiple hearings that this was not a “good faith personnel action” under Labor Code section 3208.3(h).

The appellate court reversed and remanded for further hearings. There is a very good description of what constitutes a good faith personnel action on page five. Whether there has been a psychiatric injury must be established by expert medical opinion. Then the WCAB must decide that the actual events of employment were personnel actions that caused the injury. If the personnel actions were a “substantial cause” (35 to 40 percent) of the psychiatric injury it is not compensable. The medical expert has no authority to decide whether it is a personnel action. “Like a house built on sand, the expert’s opinion is no better than the facts on which it is based.”

Case: County of Sacramento v. WCAB (Brooks)

Harvey Brown
3501 Jamboree Rd. Suite 602
Newport Beach, CA 92660

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