Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. WCAB, 112 Cal. App. 4th 1435 (2003)

Velta Elaine Garcia suffered an orthopedic injury to her back while employed by Wal-Mart. At the time of the injury, Garcia had worked at Wal-Mart for fewer than six months. Four years after the incident, Garcia amended her workers’ compensation claim to assert that she had suffered damage to her psyche resulting from the disability caused by the orthopedic injury. The workers’ compensation judge ruled that Garcia was not entitled to benefits for the alleged psychiatric injury because she had not been employed for at least six months at the time of the underlying physical injury as required by Labor Code § 3208.3(d). The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) reversed that decision, and the Court of Appeal annulled the WCAB’s decision. Among other things, the Court of Appeal held that Garcia was not “employed” for more than six months as required by the statute since she had not actually performed services for Wal-Mart for at least that period of time – though more than six months had passed from the time she was hired until she was provided a workers’ compensation form.