Forced to sit next to extemely contaigous coworker.

I work in a call center environment. I was forced to sit next to a person who had just come back from long term disability suffering from some kind of horrible respiratory illness. She was out for three months. Her coughing was almost nonstop throughout the day, and her cough was so unnerving sounding that it made me feel very uncomfortable and afraid to sit next to her because she sounded extremely contagious. I ask her supervisor if they could move her away from me several times and was told no. I also asked my supervisor if I could be moved away from her and was also told no. As a result of sitting next to her I came down with Pneumonia and laryngitis which caused me to miss almost three weeks of work, all of which is was authorized and documented by three doctors.
My question is: Can I sue my employer for forcing me to sit next to this very contagious person? Not only did they put my health at risk, but also my family�s health and other employees who may have been exposed to this extremely sick person who by the way, is now out of work again.

1 answer  |  asked Apr 16, 2009 11:48 AM [EST]  |  applies to Arizona

Answers (1)

Francis Fanning
Worker Compensation law preempts most suits for workplace injuries

In most cases of workplace injury or illness, the worker compensation system provides the only recourse an employee has. You cannot sue your employer for injuries caused by negligence, because worker compensation precludes that kind of claim. Likewise, you cannot sue a coworker for negligence for the same reason. To avoid the preclusive effects of worker compensation, you must prove that your employer or coworker intentionally injured you. It is not enough that the employer intentionally disregarded your request to be moved. You must show that the injury itself was intended or was the direct result of the intentional conduct. Under the worker compensation system, you would be entitled to compensation for the three weeks of missed work and to have your medical bills paid by the worker compensation carrier, but that's about all.

posted by Francis Fanning  |  Apr 16, 2009 3:46 PM [EST]

Answer This Question

Sign In to Answer this Question

Related Questions with Answers

Have an Employment Law question?

Virginia Employment Lawyers

Edward Lowry Edward Lowry
Charlottesville, VA
Gerald Lutkenhaus Gerald Lutkenhaus
Virginia Workers Compensation & Disability Lawyer
Richmond, VA
Sheri Abrams Sheri Abrams
Sheri R. Abrams PLLC
Oakton, VA
Matthew Kaplan Matthew Kaplan
The Kaplan Law Firm
Matthew Sutter Matthew Sutter
Sutter & Terpak, PLLC
Annandale, VA

more Virginia Employment Lawyers