Q: If you're old employer lies in a workmanc comp hearing can you sue for deformation ? He committed perjury.

"I am currently seeking legal representation to address the egregious actions taken against me by Robbins Chevrolet. This includes filing a lawsuit against them for the perjury committed during two hearings, defamation of character, and any other legal avenues available to seek justice for the wrongful termination and subsequent mistreatment I have endured, including pursuing claims for PTSD. My general manager lied to the judge during the workman's comp hearing to discredit me, stating that I never told him that I contracted COVID at work, despite having recorded evidence of a conversation with him where he asked me how I knew I caught COVID at work. I am aware that on some of my claims, the statute of limitations have passed, but with the recent false claims against me focusing on the workforce commission hearing in July of 2023, I believe that this will open up a window of justice that I deserve.

1 Lawyer Answer
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Arbitration & Mediation Lawyer
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Generally speaking, statements made during the course of judicial or administrative proceedings are subject to the affirmative defense of absolute privilege in any subsequent defamation proceeding. That means such statements cannot provide an avenue for a claim for damages.

If your employer made the false statement that you never told him you contracted COVID at work, you had the opportunity during the workers' compensation hearing to testify that, in fact, you did tell him and to play the recording of your conversation with him. It is then up to the trier of fact to weigh the evidence and to determine what actually happened if that fact was material to your workers' compensation claim. If the hearing officer decided against you, you had the opportunity to appeal the HO's decision to the appeals panel, and ultimately to a district court.

PTSD claims are extremely hard to prove and require expert medical testimony. Usually, such claims would be accompanied by a horrific work-related accident like a fire or an explosion. In my professional judgment, it would be extremely unlikely that a competent medical expert would support a claim for PTSD based on an infectious disease like COVID.

A claim for workers' compensation based on COVID also requires expert medical testimony on the element of causation. It has proven very difficult to find medical experts willing to opine with medical certainty that a patient contracted COVID at work and not by exposure to an infected individual outside of the workplace. It's barely possible if the worker was "confined" during employment to work-sponsored living accommodations (e.g. an oil worker on an off-shore oil rig or a cruise ship crew member on a voyage). It could very easily be that any lie your employer told was not relevant to the decision reached in your workers' compensation case at all, which means you have no damages attributable to any lie that was told.

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