Shift Work Maladaptation Syndrome and the Pa. Workers Compensation Act

Date: May 11, 2011
Posted In: DLP Law

           Chris had worked for a number of years at a manufacturing company over in the valley where she had commuted on a daily basis. Chris worked a straight nine-to-five shift, although the company she worked for had at least two and sometimes three different shifts going. Chris was advised that she was going to have to accept an alternating shift schedule. The schedule would involve her working an alternating nine-to-five schedule with eleven PM-to-seven AM schedule, alternating every week.

            Chris found that the change in her routine and scheduling caused her to have extreme difficulty in sleeping and she found that she was having tremendous difficulty adapting to the change in her work routine. Chris\’ health began to deteriorate to the point where she became unable to function.

ISSUE:          Does Chris have a Workers\’ Compensation claim?

ANSWER:     No. In Pennsylvania, what has been referred to as “shift work maladaptation syndrome” is not recognized as a work injury. This is unfortunate since it is common for ordinarily health people to have a tremendous problem adapting to these types of total changes in their sleep and eating routines.

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive.  Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column. 

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.