Eric Donovan loved his job of 17 years at a Canadian nonprofit agency that runs group homes and programs for adults with intellectual disabilities. But during the final years of his life, that love turned to stress as Donovan felt he was being bullied by Nadine Hendricken, his supervisor at Queens County Residential Services. The stress got so bad he and his wife, Lisa, started fearing for his health. On Oct. 31, 2013, he collapsed at home. He died days later of cardiac arrest at age 47. Now, Lisa has been awarded benefits after the Workers Compensation Board of Prince Edward Island determined that Donovan's death was linked to bullying and harassment in the workplace, the CBC reports. Eric Donovan had no pre-existing medical condition that would have caused his death, the board heard. The suit also claimed he had been forced to do unsafe work and work extra hours, the Guardian reported last year.
Donovan's co-workers testified that Hendricken was known as a bully, while Donovan was known as "helpful and generous" to his colleagues and "conscientious and compassionate" with group home residents. Per his widow, things got really bad after Donovan injured his back during an attempt to restrain an aggressive client on Sept. 30, 2013. Lisa alleges that Hendricken had called Donovan a "wimp," in front of his co-workers, prior to the incident, and that when he returned to work after his medical leave, she "berated" him as "weak," again in front of colleagues. Donovan also told his wife that he overheard Hendricken telling someone else that she believed he was faking the injury. QCRS has filed an appeal, and the organization's executive director says Donovan never filed a complaint about his alleged bullying. (A 13-year-old boy who committed suicide left behind a letter on bullying.)