Monday, June 2, 2008

New York Court Cites Exclusive remedy Provision to Limit Recovery in Changing Room Distress Claim

A New York appellate court denied a worker's motion to amend her complaint against her employer who allegedly videotaped her as she changed into her uniform, because workers' compensation exclusive remedy would preclude her from alleging negligent infliction of emotional distress against her employer.

An employee of the Northeast Theatre Corp. sued her employer after discovering that the business had videotaped a room in which employees frequently changed. The worker, Shinell Thomas, sued the employer alleging violation of her civil rights. She sought to amend her complaint in trial court to add a claim under General Obligations Law Section 395-b, which describes the unlawful installation of viewing devices such as cameras and mirrors.

The trial court granted Thomas' motion to amend, but on appeal, the 1st Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court reversed that decision.

The appellate justice explained:
"Although section 395-b has been held to set forth a duty that may serve as a basis for a claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress (citation), any such claim would be barred by the exclusivity provisions of the Workers' Compensation Law (citation). To the extent plaintiff also claims that defendants acted intentionally to inflict emotional distress, any such claim would be barred by the one-year statute of limitations."

The published decision is named Thomas v. Northeast Theatre Corp., No. 3752N, 5/29/08.

Source: WorkCompCentral

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