Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Florence Andracki v. Allied Eastern States Maintenance, No. A-84654.
James A. Hickey, Hickey & Reitmeyer, for petitioner.
Joseph F. Grochmal, with him, N. R. Zuschlag and Michael D. Sherman, Fried, Kane, Walters & Zuschlag, for respondent, Allied Eastern States Maintenance.
Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges Rogers and Colins, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Colins.
[ 96 Pa. Commw. Page 615]
Florence Andracki (claimant) has appealed an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board), which reversed a referee's decision awarding her compensation for job-related mental disability, pursuant to Section 301(c) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act),*fn1 77 P.S. § 411.
The record reveals the following facts. On February 28, 1978, Allied Eastern States Maintenance (employer) hired the claimant as a day matron. The duties of this position are not of record. Within the next year of her employment, the claimant became involved in a labor dispute arising from management decisions regarding employee placement.*fn2 Subject to the provisions of the extant bargaining agreement, the employer shifted a senior employee into the claimant's day position and informed the claimant that she would thereafter be required to work the night shift. There is no indication that the night position entailed different responsibilities; rather, the only change involved the hours of the claimant's employment. The claimant became distraught by this notification, such that she was unable to continue working; her son was summoned to take her home. On the same day, she was examined by her family physician who diagnosed an anxiety depression*fn3 and prescribed
[ 96 Pa. Commw. Page 616]
antidepressant medication. The claimant did not return to work for the employer until October 12, 1979, at which time, she assumed employment as a heavy cleaner, at wages greater than her pre-injury position.
At the hearing before the referee, the claimant testified in her own behalf. Her testimony is obtuse. She did indicate that the employer had represented to her that, as a result of seniority in her building, she would never be required to work the night shift; she believed the employer lied to her about possible night employment. The claimant expressed dissatisfaction with the machinations of the seniority system and the employer in general as follows:
Q. Now, you had a problem with Ralph Terry who was the head of your Union, isn't that correct?
A. I didn't have no [sic] problem. He come up there and accused me of things that wasn't true. . . . It was the company that did it. Ralph Terry had nothing to do with what happened to me. They're trying -- I don't know what they're trying to do to me.
The claimant also introduced the deposition testimony of her treating physician, Dr. McKeating, who opined that the claimant's anxiety depression was work-related and that she was not able to work during the course of her treatment. Dr. McKeating authorized the claimant's return to work in October, 1979, because her ...