Calendar Date: February 24, 2017
Geoffry Schotter, New York City, for appellant.
Vecchione, Vecchione, Connors & Cano LLP, Garden City
(Brian Anson of counsel), for St. Luke's Roosevelt
Hospital and another, respondents.
Before: Garry, J.P., Lynch, Clark, Mulvey and Aarons, JJ.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
from a decision of the Workers' Compensation Board, filed
December 15, 2015, which ruled that claimant did not sustain
a compensable injury and denied her claim for workers'
2014, claimant, a registered nurse, filed a claim for
workers' compensation benefits alleging that, as a result
of being wrongfully terminated, reinstated and then subjected
to, among other things, harassment from her colleagues and
supervisors, she sustained work-related injuries consisting
of insomnia, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder and
severe social phobia. The claim was controverted, and,
following a hearing, a Workers' Compensation Law Judge
disallowed the claim. Upon administrative review, the
Workers' Compensation Board upheld that determination,
finding that claimant failed to establish a compensable
psychiatric injury because her stress-related mental injuries
stemmed from her involvement in a disciplinary proceeding
that resulted in a six-month suspension without pay
(see Workers' Compensation Law § 2 ).
Claimant now appeals.
affirm. "It is well established that mental injuries
caused by work-related stress are compensable if the claimant
can establish that the stress that caused the injury was
greater than that which other similarly situated workers
experienced in the normal work environment" (Matter
of Cuva v State Ins. Fund, 144 A.D.3d 1362, 1364 
[internal quotation marks and citations omitted];
see Workers' Compensation Law § 2 ;
Matter of Lozowski v Wiz, 134 A.D.3d 1177, 1178
; Matter of Guillo v NYC Hous. Auth., 115
A.D.3d 1140, 1140-1141 ; Matter of Cerda v New York
Racing Assn., 112 A.D.3d 1075, 1076 ).
Workers' Compensation Law § 2 (7), however,
precludes claims for mental injuries based upon work-related
stress "if such mental injury is a direct consequence of
a lawful personnel decision involving a disciplinary action,
work evaluation, job transfer, demotion, or termination taken
in good faith by the employer" (see Matter of Haynes
v Catholic Charities, 135 A.D.3d 1267, 1267 ;
Matter of Brittain v New York State Ins. Dept., 107
A.D.3d 1340, 1341 ). "Whether the employer's
actions constituted a lawful personnel decision undertaken in
good faith is a factual issue to be resolved by the
Board" and will not be disturbed provided that it is
supported by substantial evidence (Matter of Haynes v
Catholic Charities, 135 A.D.3d at 1267 [internal
quotation marks and citations omitted]; accord Matter of
Aubel v Price Chopper, 307 A.D.2d 691, 691 ).
record reflects that, in December 2010, claimant's
employment was terminated for allegedly leaving her post and
abandoning her patients for over 90 minutes to engage in a
personal conversation. An arbitrator thereafter found that
just cause did not support claimant's termination, and
claimant's employment was reinstated and she was given a
six-month suspension . Claimant testified that, upon
returning to work in July 2012, and up until she left her
employment in November 2013, her psychiatric injuries were
caused by the mistreatment that she endured from her
coworkers consisting of hostility, threats and harassment,
and that management failed to intercede when she lodged her
complaints to her supervisor and the human resources
department. Contrary to claimant's contentions, the
employer's witness, the director and supervisor of the
nursing staff, testified that she received a single complaint
from claimant regarding the lack of support from her
coworkers and their unfriendly disposition towards her;
however, upon conducting an investigation and speaking to
claimant's coworkers, claimant's allegation was
unfounded. The employer's witness also testified that she
did not recall receiving any other direct complaints from
claimant regarding any alleged lack of support from the
deference to the Board's resolution of witness
credibility issues (see Matter of Cuva v State Ins.
Fund, 144 A.D.3d at 1365; Matter of Guillo v NYC
Hous. Auth., 115 A.D.3d at 1141), and in light of the
evidence that claimant began receiving medical treatment for
her psychiatric conditions, including depression, anxiety and
insomnia, as early as June 2010, we find no basis to disturb
the Board's factual determination that claimant's
work-related stress did not exceed that which could be
expected in her normal work environment and that the genesis
of the exacerbation of her mental injuries was her
involvement in a disciplinary proceeding taken in good faith
and not her interactions with coworkers upon returning to
work in June 2012 (see Workers' Compensation Law
§ 2 ; Matter of Lozowski v Wiz, 134 A.D.3d
at 1178; Matter of Guillo v NYC Hous. Auth., 115
A.D.3d at 1141; compare Matter of Haynes v Catholic
Charities, 135 A.D.3d at 1268).
Clark, Mulvey and Aarons, JJ., concur.
that the decision is affirmed, without costs.