Edward Marquez worked for the County of Los Angeles for approximately 20 years as an officer for the Los Angeles County Office of Public Safety. When that agency merged into the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Marquez was conditionally offered the position of deputy sheriff, provided he could establish that he was qualified for the position by passing a background check, medical examination, psychological examination, and polygraph examination.
Marquez failed the psychological examination and the Sheriff’s Department subsequently demoted him to the position of custody assistant. He was placed in a temporary assignment. He only worked in that position for a few months before he took a medical leave, and applied to the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association for a service-connected disability retirement under Government Code section 31720.
The Association granted Marquez’s application for a disability retirement, it found that his disability was not service connected because it related to a personnel decision, not the performance of his job duties.
Marquez challenged that decision by filing a petition for a writ of administrative mandamus. The trial court found that Marquez’s psychological incapacity was service connected because the psychological examination was required by the Sheriff’s Department as a condition of Marquez’s employment.
The Court of Appeal concluded that the court erred in its legal analysis. It reversed the judgment and remand for further proceedings.in the unpublished case of Marquez v. Los Angeles County Employees.
The only questions are whether Marquez’s psychological disability arose “out of” and “in the course of” employment, and whether his employment “substantially contributed” to his disability, as required under section 31270.
Section 31720 requires that a disability applicant’s employment “must contribute substantially to, or be a real and measurable part of, the employee’s permanent disability,” in order to qualify the employee for a disability retirement.
Although he submitted to the fitness-for-duty test required for the position of deputy sheriff, he was not injured during the psychological examination. He was not injured by the examination. And he was not required to take any action as a consequence of the examination.
Marquez suffered psychological distress as a result of the Sheriff’s Department’s decision not to promote him to the position of deputy sheriff. That decision, and Marquez’s reaction to it, did not occur in connection with Marquez’s performance of his job duties.