June 27 is PTSD Awareness Day (US). PTSD is a reaction to a
traumatic event with long-lasting symptoms that disrupt a
person’s life. It may lead to job loss, relationship troubles
and the deterioration of one's overall health – among
PTSD affects individuals from all walks of life depending on
their life experiences. Paramedics, police officers, firefighters,
veterans and other front-line employees might be affected by the
work they do. But other experiences such as a sudden or traumatic
accident resulting in the death of a loved one, sexual violence
(including assault or abuse), still births and miscarriages later
in the gestation period, and/or experiencing a serious injury may
also bring on PTSD or significant symptoms of same. Other traumatic
events may include natural disasters, war or conflict and being a
victim of crime.
PSTD is considered a mental health disorder. Symptoms of PTSD
may include re-experiencing the traumatic event through vivid
nightmares, flashbacks or excessive thoughts of the event.
Oftentimes, people may experience a change in their thoughts and
mood – at times expressed through irritability and feeling
‘on edge’ or nervous. Some people may be startled
easily, have a hard time concentrating or experience difficulties
with sleep. Generally, an individual who suffers from PTSD may
often feel like something terrible is about to happen and may
experience a disassociation with self and their environment.
Many of the clients that I represent experience either
significant symptoms of PTSD or have been diagnosed fully with PTSD
and unfortunately have been denied short or long term disability
benefits. Without proper care – medication, counselling
and/or support groups – individuals may resort to alcohol or
drugs as a way to cope. Getting the right support and treatment is
paramount. Without their disability benefits, the ability to afford
such treatment is next to impossible for most.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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