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Wisconsin Worker's Compensation Act Exclusive Remedy for Harassment by Supervisor
Description Employee was sexually harassed for a year before quitting and suing employer for harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Verdict against supervisor overturned on appeal because under Wisconsin law the harassment was an accident and Worker's Compensation is the exclusive remedy.
Topic Employment Law
Key Words Workers Compensation, Sexual Harassment, Emotional Distress
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Hibben worked for TLC Services, Inc. Her supervisor was Nardone, majority owner and president of TLC. Hibben claimed she was subjected to constant sexual harassment for the year she worked for TLC. After she quit, she sued for sexual harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress and won a judgment against TLC and against Nardone. TLC, in bankruptcy, does not appeal. Nardone appeals.
Court of Appeals Decision Reversed. Under the Wisconsin Worker's Compensation Act, sexual harassment inflicted on an employee by a supervisor is an "accident" and her claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress is thus barred by the Worker's Compensation Act exclusivity provision. According to Wisconsin law, it was not expected or foreseeable that she would suffer sexual harassment. The Wisconsin high court has held that "accident" under the statute includes intentionally inflicted harms.
Citation Hibben v. Nardone, 1998 WL 67564 (7th Cir.)

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