Gao v. StateAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff, a former employee of the State, Department of the Attorney General, filed a workers’ compensation claim after he was diagnosed with depression and was later terminated. The sole question before the Labor and Industrial Relations Appeals Board (LIRAB) was whether Plaintiff sustained a personal psychological injury arising out of and in the course of employment. LIRAB found that Plaintiff’s psychological injury was attributed to a “Notice to Improve Performance" (NTIP) issued by his employer. The Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) affirmed, concluding that Plaintiff’s injury resulted solely from “disciplinary action,” and therefore, Plaintiff’s workers’ compensation claim was barred by Haw. Rev. Stat. 386-3(c). The Supreme Court vacated the ICA’s judgment, holding (1) Plaintiff’s NTIP was not “disciplinary action,” as that term is defined by Haw. Rev. Stat. 386-1 and 386-3; and (2) therefore, Plaintiff’s workers’ compensation claim is not barred by section 386-3(c). Remanded to LIRAB for further proceedings.