Store manager's stress from accusation of theft falls under comp
Case name: Yang v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, No. 29757 (Hawaii Ct. App. 04/30/12).
Ruling: The Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals held that a manager's suit against a store was barred by the exclusive remedy provision of workers' compensation.
means: In Hawaii, the exclusive remedy provision of workers' compensation will bar suits based on the personal injuries a worker suffered arising out of and in the course of her employment.
Summary: A wallet was found in the men's department of a clothing store and was turned over to the manager. The manager and another manager found $600 in cash inside and placed the wallet in the store's safe. A few days later, the manager checked the wallet and discovered that the money was missing. She reported the money missing to the store's loss prevention agent. A few days later, the agent escorted the manager to the manager's office of the women's department, and a second agent began "interrogating" her. The manager denied that she took the money, but the agents persisted in their allegations and pressured her to confess. She was escorted out of the store in plain view of her coworkers. She had been crying and was embarrassed. She was awarded workers' compensation benefits for a stress-related injury arising out of the incident. She also sued the store and the two agents. The Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals held that her claim was barred by the exclusive remedy provision.
The court explained that the workers' compensation remedies granted to the manager excluded all of the store's other liabilities to her on account of the personal injuries she allegedly suffered arising out of and in the course of her employment. The manager's claims against the agents were also barred. The court rejected the manager's argument that would create an exception to the exclusivity provision.
The court said that there are "sound social and economic policy reasons" supporting the workers' compensation law, and the legislature can amend it if it chooses.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
June 25, 2012
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