Bullying is not an occupational disease in Germany
Photo: Konstantin Postumitenko / Getty Images / iStockphoto
A "bullying chronology" should prove that years of constriction at work made him sick.
A former pastoral officer of an Italian Catholic community saw the reason for his depression and post-traumatic stress disorder mainly in the harassment he was exposed to between 2006 and 2012 while working in an Italian Catholic community.
Because of the psychological consequences, he applied to his accident insurer for the recognition of bullying as an occupational disease.
The insurer refused.
The former pastoral consultant, on the other hand, took a second instance to the Bavarian State Social Court (Az .: L 3 U 11/20).
Bullying is not on the list of occupational diseases
The judges base their decision on the arguments that the accident insurer had already put forward in its rejection to the pastoral consultant. The mental illness caused by bullying was not listed in the occupational diseases ordinance and the associated list of occupational diseases, the accident insurance had argued at the time. Which diseases are included in the ordinance is decided on the proposal of the »Medical Advisory Board for Occupational Diseases«, which is part of the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.
The state social court explained that illnesses such as “such as” an occupational disease could also be recognized and compensated for.
However, the prerequisite for recognition as an “how-occupational disease” is that a certain group of people, because of their insured activity, is exposed “to a significantly higher degree” than the rest of the population to special influences that, according to scientific knowledge, cause an illness.
The fact that pastoral officers have a higher risk of bullying has not been proven.
Recognition as an "how-occupational disease" is therefore ruled out, according to the judges in their decision from May last year, which has only now been published.
Increased risk of bullying for individual occupational groups is still a gray area
The former pastoral consultant referred unsuccessfully to a study from 2002, the so-called »Mobbing Report«.
According to this, there is an increased and specific risk of bullying in the social-charitable and especially in the church sector.
Since there are only limited employee representation rights in the church sector, those affected by bullying could also hardly defend themselves, he said.
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The court contradicted this. Rather, bullying is a phenomenon that affects society as a whole. So far, the Medical Advisory Board has not investigated an increased risk of illness as a result of bullying for individual professional groups. Years of bullying could well have led to the plaintiff's mental illness. For recognition as an occupational disease, however, it does not depend on the individual case, justified the judges.
The Hessian State Social Court in Darmstadt had already ruled similarly on October 23, 2012 (Az .: L 3 U 199/11).
Mobbing occurs in all professional groups and in the private sphere.
It was justified at the time that it had not yet been proven that a certain occupational group was affected particularly often.
The Federal Social Court of Kassel has now initiated explicit research on this, for example for the consequences of bullying by paramedics (Ref .: B 2 U 11/20 R).
flg / JurAgentur