Media pressure on a worker can cause an accident at work | My Rights | Economy

At the pediatrician's office.Getty Images

The acute anxiety after some journalistic publications linking a pediatrician to a plot of child abuse can be the cause of an accident at work because the disability is "compellingly" related to her professional activity.

In May 2019, some information was published in the press that linked a pediatrician from a health center in Granada to the Free Childhood association who had issued several reports on cases of child abuse. In the press information it was even said that she belonged to a criminal plot or was spoken of as part of "the Free Childhood witches".

In addition, the journalists came to ask about the pediatrician at her work center and even went to her home in the days after the information. Due to what was published in the press, the worker received medical assistance for anxiety.

The Social Court number 1 of Granada upheld the pediatrician's claim against the Andalusian Health Service and the National Social Security Institute, declaring the temporary disability caused by an accident at work.

The two entities filed an appeal before the Superior Court of Justice of Andalusia and based their request on the fact that there was no accident report nor an event "in itinere" suffered by the pediatrician.

The judgmentwhose rapporteur was the magistrate José Manuel González Viñas, recalls the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court when considering as an occupational accident "any bodily injury that the worker suffers on the occasion or as a consequence of work".

Relevant occasion

The magistrates reject the claims of the Social Security and the Andalusian Health Service by applying in this case the theory of "relevant occasionality", which is characterized by a negative and a positive circumstance.

The negative argument is that the elements that generated the accident are not specific or inherent to the work, as was the publication of news against the pediatrician. And the positive circumstance is that the work carried out or the normal activities of working life have been the condition without which the event would not have occurred, as was the report of the health center worker.

The magistrates compare the cause of the anxiety of the pediatrician for the harassment of the journalists with the accidents suffered by the workers when they leave the company to have a coffee within the legally established time as a habitual, social and normal activity in the world of work, emphasizing that the work – in this case the completion of the pediatric report – is the condition without which the accident would not have occurred.

The sentence considers that although the possible cause of the sick leave was caused by the action of a third party outside the work, such as the journalists who went to the pediatrician requesting information, the truth is that it was the work carried out by the health professional "the cause exclusive of the attacks on his person that produced the anxiety situation that justified his process of temporary incapacity”

Evidence Review

At the request of the Andalusian Health Service and the National Social Security Institute to review the proven facts, the TSJ of Andalusia considers that the labor process is conceived as a single instance, which means that the assessment of the evidence is attributed in all its breadth "only" to the Social Court.

The magistrates consider that the judge who has had full immediacy in the practice of the evidence and, therefore, the review of his conclusions "can only be carried out when a possible error appears clearly and without a doubt."

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