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The Basics of Labor Code 3208.3

Labor code 3208.3 deals with psychiatric injuries that may occur on the job. The clauses state that psychiatric injuries can qualify for compensation if the disorder meets certain conditions. With a little help from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the courts evaluate the claim and the employer’s responsibility on a per-case basis.


Demonstrable Evidence

The labor code states that the employee must prove their disorder was predominantly caused by events occurring during the time of employment. The term ‘personnel action’ referred to in the code has been largely defined as conduct on the part of management to or against the employee. This section of the labor code was created to give employees more flexibility to hold their employer accountable for damaging psychological stress.


Employees must have been working for their employer for at least six months to be eligible for compensation under this clause, and the code does not apply to a psychiatric condition that came on suddenly under extraordinary circumstances. However, these laws have proven to be somewhat flexible as certain cases challenge the code and set precedence for future claims. For example, if a worker experiences a sudden physical injury after only a month on the job, they may be able to claim a psychiatric injury if they can prove that the event was unexpected.


If an employee is terminated or voluntarily laid-off, they may be able to file for psychiatric injury under this code if their employer had knowledge of a mental condition prior to the layoff, or if there was evidence of sexual or racial harassment or discrimination. However, if the employer or management staff can prove that their actions were taken were both lawful and in good-faith, then they are excused under the mandates in this code.