The Ohio Supreme Court Upholds Statute Limiting Intentional Tort Claims Against Employers
In a favorable decision for Ohio employers, the Ohio Supreme Court today upheld a 2005 statute limiting the ability of employees who suffer workplace injuries from suing their employers for a “workplace intentional tort” in addition to receiving workers’ compensation benefits. In two separate decisions, the Court ruled that Ohio Revised Code Section 2745.01, which requires that injured employees prove that their employers acted “with a deliberate intent to cause…injury,” does not violate the Ohio Constitution.
Under the “deliberate intent” standard, an employer may no longer be held liable for the accidental injury of an employee, even if the injury is caused by the gross, wanton, willful, reckless, or malicious breach of its duty of care. An employer must instead act with “a conscious and deliberate…purpose of inflicting an injury.”
Although the statute generally limits the circumstances under which Ohio employees may bring intentional tort actions, it also outlines specific circumstances in which “deliberate intent” will be presumed. The law provides that the “deliberate removal by an employer of an equipment safety guard or deliberate misrepresentation of a toxic or hazardous substance creates a rebuttable presumption that the removal or misrepresentation was committed with intent to injure another if an injury or an occupational disease or condition occurs as a direct result.”
An overview of the Ohio Supreme Court’s decisions in Kaminski v. Metal & Wire Products Co. and Stetter v. R.J. Corman Derailment Services, as well as the text of the opinions, may be found by following this link:
Questions regarding today’s decisions or the new intentional tort standard, which applies to all cases arising after April 7, 2005, may be directed to any of Taft’s labor and employment attorneys.
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