It is well-established under Massachusetts law that the Worker’s Compensation Act (the Act) is the exclusive remedy for people who suffer work-related harm. It is not always clear, however, what constitutes harm as defined by the Act. Recently, a Massachusetts court addressed the question of whether the Act precluded an employee from pursuing intentional infliction of emotional distress claims against their employer. If you sustained injuries in the workplace, you may be owed workers’ compensation benefits, and you should confer with a dedicated Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.
The Plaintiff’s Allegations
It is alleged that the plaintiff was employed by the defendant as a technician. The defendant reassigned the plaintiff to the night shift numerous times, despite the plaintiff’s request to remain on the day shift due to his ongoing anxiety and depression. Eventually, the plaintiff was terminated. He filed a lawsuit against the defendant alleging discrimination on the basis of disability, infliction of emotional distress that was intentional, and other claims. The defendant moved for summary judgment on the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim, arguing it was barred by the Act. The court agreed and granted the motion.
Personal Injury as Defined by the Act
The Act provides the sole remedy for Massachusetts workplace claims for personal injury. In other words, it bars common law causes of action that fall within its scope. The court explained that the exclusivity provision of the Act applies where it is established that the plaintiff is an employee, the plaintiff’s condition is a personal injury as the Act defines the term, and it is shown that the injury arose in the course of and out of employment. Continue reading →