Assisting Employees With Workplace Tort Matters
In addition to federal, state and city laws, “tort” laws may protect employees in the workplace. Fisher Taubenfeld LLP represents employees in the following types of tort claims:
- Fraudulent inducement
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
- Assault and battery
- False imprisonment
Fraudulent inducement may occur where an employer knowingly or intentionally misrepresents something to an employee (or applicant) regarding his employment, which materially influences the employee’s decision to accept or continue employment and results in damage or harm.
Workplace defamation may occur where an employer makes a written (libel) or verbal (slander) false statement about a worker to a third person, resulting in damage to the worker’s reputation. Where the employer did not act with malice (malicious intent), the employer may have a qualified privilege to make statements about an employee or former employee to interested parties including clients, other employees or prospective employers. Employees may overcome the privilege if an employer acts in bad faith or with malice or makes excessive or inappropriate publication without trying to determine whether the statements were true or not. An employer’s negative opinion about a worker’s job performance generally does not create a claim for defamation.
Intentional Infliction Of Emotional Distress
A claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) may arise where an employer’s conduct toward an employee is:
- Extreme and outrageous
- Intended to or could be foreseen to cause a reasonable person serious emotional trauma
- The actual cause of severe and serious emotional distress
Mere insults are not enough to establish IIED claims. Nor is being fired and escorted off premises by security. On the other hand, being handcuffed or subject to repeated racial epithets or severe sexual harassment may be enough.
Assault And Battery
Assault occurs when a person attempts to touch another person without consent. An employee can sue the person who assaulted him.
A battery occurs when a person touches another person without consent. For example, a battery may occur when a security guard uses force to escort an employee off premises. A battery may also occur in the context of sexual harassment, when a harasser’s conduct is physical. The victim of a battery could sue the individual who caused him harm.
An employer is generally not liable for injuries to employees at work, since such injuries are generally covered by workers’ compensation. However, workers’ compensation does not cover intentional or deliberate acts that were intended to cause harm to an employee. Therefore, where the person who assaulted or battered another employee is a supervisor or acted in the course of his duties (i.e., security guard), the victim of the assault or battery may also sue the employer. Similarly, where the employer knew or should have known that an assault or battery would occur, the employer may be held liable.
False imprisonment occurs when a person is prohibited from moving without another person’s permission without legal justification. For example, false imprisonment may occur if a supervisor locks an employee in a room or prohibits the employee from leaving. The length of time a person has been falsely imprisoned, the reason for the detention and the method by which the person is detained are all relevant factors in establishing a false imprisonment claim.
Contact Fisher Taubenfeld LLP
We offer a free and confidential phone consultation in which you can discuss your employment matter. Send an email or call 646-741-3490, toll-free 866-654-0343, to speak with an experienced New York employment law attorney.
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