Magazine article Developments in Mental Health Law

Employee Who Was Sexually Assaulted at a Correctional Facility for Inmates with Psychiatric Problems Can Only Turn to Workers' Compensation for Recovery

Magazine article Developments in Mental Health Law

Employee Who Was Sexually Assaulted at a Correctional Facility for Inmates with Psychiatric Problems Can Only Turn to Workers' Compensation for Recovery

Article excerpt

In general, when employees are injured in the course of work, they must turn to a state-run workers' compensation plan for recovery. These plans are intended to ensure compensation in a quick and reliable manner and do not require employees to show that the employer was at fault in connection with the injury. At the same time, the worker's compensation plan also places limitations on the size of the damages that can be recovered.

However, when the injury is outside the realm of expected activities for a particular business, employees typically have the option of filing claims through the tort system where they may recover more if they can show the employer was at fault. One such common exception involves sexual assaults that occur on the job because they involve an activity that is outside the norm for most businesses.

A female medical records technician at Marion Correctional Treatment Center, a facility for inmates with psychiatric problems operated by the Virginia Department of Corrections, asserted that this exception applied when she was subjected to an attempted forcible sodomy by an inmate while at work, and filed a tort claim for recovery. …

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