Court Allows Employee Shot by Co-worker to Sue Employer Despite Workers’ Compensation Denial (HRMorning.com)

Court Allows Employee Shot by Co-worker to Sue Employer Despite Workers’ Compensation Denial

  Tuesday, May 14th, 2024 Source: HRMorning.com

In a notable legal decision in Florida, a court has permitted an employee to proceed with a tort claim against his employer following a workplace shooting incident that initially led to a denial of workers’ compensation benefits. The case arose when an employee was shot multiple times by a co-worker during a dispute over union activities. The shooting occurred offsite during a scheduled break after both parties clocked out from work. Subsequently, the employer contested the workers’ compensation claim, arguing that the incident did not occur within the scope of employment as it happened off the employer’s premises and outside work duties.

The state’s division of workers’ compensation sided with the employer, denying the claim. However, when the employee pursued a tort suit for damages, the employer contended that workers’ compensation provided exclusive relief, despite having argued the contrary. The appeals court criticized this contradictory stance, stating that the employer could not claim workers’ compensation immunity while simultaneously denying the incident occurred within the employment scope. This ruling emphasizes that workers’ compensation laws do not shield employers from liability in cases where they deny the applicability of those very laws.

This case highlights the complexities of workplace violence and the legal nuances of workers’ compensation claims. It serves as a reminder of the potential liabilities employers face when denying workers’ compensation claims, which could result in more significant repercussions under tort law.

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