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Emotional distress claims are workers’ comp issues

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in Discrimination and Harassment,HR Management,Human Resources

A court has ruled that employees who file harassment and discrimination lawsuits can’t tack on charges of negligent infliction of emotional distress. That’s a tactic some employees attempt when the alleged workplace harassment is severe, and the employer doesn’t try to fix the problem.

Instead, the court said emotional damage claims allegedly caused by negligence are the sole province of the New Jersey workers’ compensation system.

Recent case: Christine Cheeseman and Marta Rodriguez, who are not black, sued their employer alleging that black co-workers harassed them because of their race, sex and age.

Their attorney added a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress.

The court tossed out their case, explaining that it was actually a workers’ compensation claim. (Cheeseman & Rodriguez v. Baxter Healthcare, No. 08-4814, DC NJ, 2009)

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