Ford Case Essay

285 WordsMay 1, 20122 Pages
In Ford v. Revlon Inc., the Supreme Court of Arizona held that Arizona’s workers’ compensation law did not provide the exclusive remedy to Leta Fay Ford, a Revlon employee who was sexually harassed and physically assaulted by a co-worker. The court upheld the jury’s verdict against Revlon, stating that the tort was committed through Revlon’s inaction over a period in excess of eight months and that the resulting emotional injury to the plaintiff was therefore not unexpected or accidental. Ford’s recovery was not limited to a workers’ compensation claim. A few years after the Ford decision, the Arizona Court of Appeals, in Irvin Investors Inc. v. Superior Court, was called upon to determine whether an employee could sue her employer in a tort action when she was sexually molested by a co-worker. She cited Ford as authority to bring an action against her employer. The Court of Appeals rejected her claim, stating that there was no evidence that the employer was even aware of the co-worker’s misconduct until she quit. Furthermore, the conduct was described as an “unexpected injury-causing event” within the coverage of the workers’ compensation statute. This case suggests a possible trend toward erosion of the exclusivity ban of workers’ compensation when it comes to workplace violence. If an employer is presumably “on notice” that an employee displays episodes of violence and does nothing, or very little, for a protracted period of time and the employee ultimately engages in a violent act resulting in physical harm and emotional distress, can the injured worker bring a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress against the employer? The answer appears to be a qualified

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