Many computer programmers and IT specialists aspire to work for rapidly growing and popular companies such as the ride-sharing California-based company Uber. Unfortunately, for one man, the alleged intense work environment may have resulted in his suicide. His spouse has filed a lawsuit against the company, suing for workers’ compensation benefits that she feels were wrongly denied in the aftermath of his death.
The man, who had previous experience with another high profile tech company, Linkedin, worked for Uber only a few months before the environment is said to have affected him. His wife claims that her husband changed after he began his new job. She alleges that he began having panic attacks, insomnia and anxiety over job security. According to reports, he was receiving therapy for his mental health. His personal therapist apparently recommended that he should look for other employment, but the man was not mentally capable of processing a job change in his state of distress.
Not only does the wife feel that the work environment was toxic to his mental health, but she accuses the company of having some racist attitudes, which may have compounded the poor state of his mental health prior to his death. According to data, her husband was in the 1 percent of black employees working at the company. Uber responded to the lawsuit, alleging that the man never filed any formal complaints regarding his work stress or feelings of racism.
According to California law, the man was not employed at Uber long enough to qualify for workers’ compensation for his mental health issues, which was cited as the reason for denying his wife’s initial claim for death benefits. As with many laws, there are exemptions. Any psychiatric injury that is a result of a sudden and extraordinary employment condition may be exempt from the minimum time limit required to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. The woman’s legal counsel argues that the circumstances of the man’s death should qualify her for benefits under the exemption.
Source: sacbee.com, “Uber worker ‘broken’ by racism and stress at work, his widow says”, Greg Hadley, April 28, 2017