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Associated Press, Published January 11 2011

North Dakota violent crime victims could claim work comp

BISMARCK — North Dakota's workers compensation director is supporting a proposal to provide up to $15,000 in benefits for someone who's a victim of a violent crime at work.

Bryan Klipfel spoke today to the North Dakota Senate's Industry, Business and Labor Committee. Klipfel says the agency doesn't normally pay benefits just for mental stress. But he says the legislation is narrowly focused.

It's being introduced in response to a denied claim from a teller at a Gilby bank. She was handcuffed and forced to lie on the floor during a robbery. She was afraid to come back to work, but she couldn't get workers comp benefits.

North Dakota's Chamber of Commerce opposes the bill. Spokesman Bill Shalhoob says it could bring on other claims for mental stress on the job.

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