Infectious Diseases are covered under the definition of occupational disease, so long as the disease is acquired as a direct result of the employment. The employee has the burden of proving a causal link between the employment and the exposure. An employer is not liable for workers’ compensation for an infectious disease which cannot be traced to the employment as a direct and proximate cause or which results from a hazard to which the worker could have been equally exposed outside of employment. If immediately preceding the disablement or death, the employee was providing emergency medical care or the employee was working as a licensed police officer, fire fighter, paramedic, correctional officer, emergency medical technician or licensed nurse providing emergency medical care, and that employee contracts an infectious or communicable disease to which the employee was exposed in the course of employment outside of a hospital, then the disease is presumptively an occupational disease and is presumed to have been caused by the employment. Any factors the employer uses to rebut this presumption known to the employer or insurer at the time of denial of liability shall be communicated to the employee with that denial.       

A presumption also exists for fire fighters who are disabled by reason of cancer caused by exposure to heat, radiation or a known or suspected carcinogen defined by applicable agency. That cancer may be presumed to be an occupational disease.

Subd. 15. Occupational disease.

(a) "Occupational disease" means a mental impairment as defined in paragraph (d) or physical disease arising out of and in the course of employment peculiar to the occupation in which the employee is engaged and due to causes in excess of the hazards ordinary of employment and shall include undulant fever. Physical stimulus resulting in mental injury and mental stimulus resulting in physical injury shall remain compensable. Mental impairment is not considered a disease if it results from a disciplinary action, work evaluation, job transfer, layoff, demotion, promotion, termination, retirement, or similar action taken in good faith by the employer. Ordinary diseases of life to which the general public is equally exposed outside of employment are not compensable, except where the diseases follow as an incident of an occupational disease, or where the exposure peculiar to the occupation makes the disease an occupational disease hazard. A disease arises out of the employment only if there be a direct causal connection between the conditions under which the work is performed and if the occupational disease follows as a natural incident of the work as a result of the exposure occasioned by the nature of the employment. An employer is not liable for compensation for any occupational disease which cannot be traced to the employment as a direct and proximate cause and is not recognized as a hazard characteristic of and peculiar to the trade, occupation, process, or employment or which results from a hazard to which the worker would have been equally exposed outside of the employment.

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