The image of young baristas working in an environment in which the greatest occupational hazard is the percolating aroma of Columbian coffee beans has been shattered by a workplace injury called, “Barista Elbow.” Barista elbow is not a joke. It hurts, may have long term health consequences, and is likely to be improperly reported and not medically treated because many of the employees who sustain this injury are young, do not know their workplace rights, and may believe barista elbow will go away or their young bodies can combat it.
Often equated to tennis elbow, barista elbow is an occupational hazard for those working at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Starbucks, or any other like establishments. The symptoms have been reported as an inability to straighten one’s arm and an elbow pain. Both symptoms last the entire day, weeks, or forever.
Employment Lawyer Group can take on huge companies like Coffee Bean, Tea Leaf, Starbucks, Tully’s Coffee, Peet’s Coffee and Tea, Coffee Beanery, Tim Hortons, Caribou Coffee, Gloria Jean’s Coffees, and Costa Coffee.
Barista elbow has been reported as being caused by knocking, tamping, or slapping compacted coffee out of portafilters. Portafilters are where coffee is placed when making espresso. Barista elbow has also been attributed to repetitively lifting gallons of milk, stirring coffee, shaking, to tapping blenders used to make frappuccinos. Although these are different repetitive motions, it is clear barista elbow is a repetitive motion injury much like carpal tunnel.
Repetitive motion injuries can be serious injuries that require workers compensation benefits and claims. Because baristas are often quite young, the long term effects from a carpel tunnel type injury could be traumatic. Barista elbow is not something to might light of.
Barista injury has been reported to cause medical bills and treatment young coffee house workers do not know must be covered by their employers’ workers compensation insurance. Some baristas, unaware of their workplace rights, have foregone treatment because they lacked medical insurance. Any medical treatment due to a workplace injury must be paid for by the employer. Barista elbow has been reported to cause baristas not to be able to work during periods of pain. Barista elbow is no different than other types of work injuries for which workers compensation insurance of the employer must pay temporary or long term wage benefits for the period of time the worker is unable to work due to the workplace injury.
Barista injury is also a concern because many workers under 25 do not know their workplace rights, and the large chain coffee houses tend to hire baristas who are fairly new to the workforce. If a barista fails to diagnose and medically document their barista elbow injury while they are still employed at the coffee house where the injury was first caused their ability to seek disability benefits and medical treatment under the workers compensation system becomes more complicated, but not impossible.If you need any help getting an employment lawyer to represent you, check out my article on How To Get An Employmetn Lawyer To Represent You.
Barista elbow is historically similar to college dormitory cafeteria workers who develop wrist or other injuries repetitively carrying trays. Often, dormitory cafeteria workers end up suffering from the effects of their injuries the rest of their lives, but fall to report it while employed in the dormitory cafeteria. Alternatively, they might receive a misdiagnosis such as Kienbock Disease, a condition in which one of the small bones of the wrist loses its blood supply and dies, causing pain and stiffness with wrist motion. In the late stages of the disease, the bone collapses, shifting the position of other bones in the wrist. This shifting eventually leads to degenerative changes and osteoarthritis in the joint.
If you worked as a barista and have developed elbow pains, have an inability to straighten your arm or elbow, or feel you are suffering from a repetitive motion injury, you should contact an experienced workers compensation lawyer immediately. Do not wait until finals are over, or you feel you might have more time to deal with the work injury. Work injuries need to be reported and treated immediately. A failure to properly treat a work injury may lead to additional injury or irreparable harm to one’s body. Barista elbow, in particular, has been linked to long term tendonitis. The failure to timely report a workers compensation injury causes unnecessary legal hurdles. However, reporting a work injury is not all that must be done. Proper legal representation is important because the workers compensation system is a trap for the unwary and unrepresented.
For barista elbow injuries, or any other workplace injuries, contact our firm at 1-877-525-0700. We only represent employees.