CSST - power play

The client works on an assembly line where she needs to make displays quickly. One day she has to stop working because of too much pain in her thumb. She suspects that her work on the assembly line is the cause of her occupational illness. The CSST at first accepts the diagnosis of tendinitis of the left thumb as a work accident but turns down the claim in review: no unforeseen and sudden event. The client disputes this finding at the Commission des lésions professionnelles.

The client is then represented by a lawyer who does not specialize in this field. This lawyer wisely decides to direct his client to a specialist and this is why this file ends up on my desk. Therefore I appear for the worker at the Commission des lesions professionnelles.

The issue here is to show that there is a direct link between the diagnosis and the repetitive movements made at her job. The muscles involved reside in the thumb and the worker performs the physical movements required at a very fast pace. With the help of her children and her lawyer, she makes a report in which she is able to quantify precisely the duration and frequency of the action required in the execution of her functions.

It is necessary to know that, even if the worker carried out her tasks in a factory, her employer was an employment agency. In theory, her employer could ask her to work elsewhere: in practice however, she was always working at the same place.

Eventually, the employer visits the assembly line at my client’s place of work and realizes that the rhythm of work is frantic. Notice that it is only after the case is settled that I learn of this fact.

In order to minimize his costs, the employer makes an offer to the worker the very same day the hearing is scheduled, which is then suspended pending the outcome of the negotiations made with the employer. Although it is likely and probably reasonable to claim an occupational injury, the employer offers to agree to the eligibility of the occupational injury as long as it is accepted as a work accident.  This does not take away any rights from the worker but it allows the employer to get away with lower costs. Because of this, there is nothing for my client to gain by holding a hearing. The agreement is concluded and ratified by the Commission des lesions peofessionnelles. The diagnosis of her occupational injury will be modified to become tendinitis of the left thumb which is part of a personal condition of rhizarthrosis or osteoarthritis of the thumb.

The important thing is not to be right but to win!