Workers' Comp Law Bars Injury Claim Based On Employer's Absenteeism Policy

The Connecticut Appellate Court has dismissed a plaintiff's claim for personal injuries that he alleged were caused by his employer's intentional conduct in enforcing its absenteeism policy. Scheirer v. Frenish, Inc. The court found the personal injury claim was barred by the exclusivity provision of the Workers' Compensation Act.

While at work, the plaintiff's foreman noticed the plaintiff was acting strangely and asked the company nurse to examine him. After evaluating the plaintiff, the nurse called an ambulance to take the plaintiff to a hospital. The plaintiff alleged that the employer had a policy to minimize employee absenteeism related to workplace injuries and that, in furtherance of that policy, the employer had directed the nurse to withhold treatment from him. As a result of the delayed treatment, the plaintiff claimed he suffered severe injuries, including a fractured cranium and permanent brain damage.

Because the plaintiff claimed the employer intentionally had caused his injuries, he attempted to avoid the Workers' Compensation Act and litigate his claim for damages in state court. However, the Appellate Court rejected that argument as too speculative. In affirming the judgment for the employer, the court said the plaintiff's argument was not effective in avoiding the well-established exclusivity provision of the Workers' Compensation Act.