Fired PEPCO Worker Can't Claim PTSD

Worker claimed post-traumatic stress

By P.J. Orvetti
|  Tuesday, Jul 6, 2010  |  Updated 10:16 AM EDT
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Fired PEPCO Worker Can't Claim PTSD

Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

It’s official: “post-traumatic stress disorder” is not a synonym for “hangover.”

The D.C. Court of Appeals has ruled that former PEPCO employee Benjamin Ramey’s claim that he suffered PTSD after being fired for allegedly being drunk on the job doesn’t hold water.

The Washington Examiner reports Ramey was called into work at about midnight during Labor Day Weekend 2003. The conduit installer stumbled into his supervisor’s office around 3 a.m., according to court papers, where his boss found Ramey’s “speech was slurred, his sentences were unintelligible his breath smelled of alcohol, he was unsteady on his feet and his eyes.”

Two supervisors loaded Ramey into a car and they tried to find an alcohol testing facility, but, as the Examiner reports, “after two unsuccessful attempts and driving around for five hours, the men returned to PEPCO.” They then did an in-house breathalyzer test, and Ramey tested positive, according to court documents.

He was suspended and told to go to rehab. He did -- but got kicked out because he kept drinking, according to the Examiner. That’s when PEPCO fired him.

Ramey filed a workers’ comp claim based on the five-hour road trip. He said he did not know where they were taking him, and that he peed in his pants because he wasn’t allowed a bathroom stop. Supervisors said the mood in the car was “jovial,” and said no one made fun of Ramey over the wet pants incident, despite his later claims.

The Court of Appeals agreed with an administrative law judge, who ruled earlier that Ramey’s problems “were likely related to his inability to accept and adjust to his drug and alcohol addiction” -- not the fact that his very patient employers had finally had enough.

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