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Workers’ Comp Bars Claim That Bullying Led to Employee’s Suicide

April 12, 2021


The family of a worker alleging that he committed suicide after experiencing workplace bullying could not bring a wrongful death claim against his employer and supervisor, a California appellate court ruled. Workers’ compensation was the exclusive remedy and therefore barred the lawsuit, the court said.

The employee began working for the California Department of Transportation performing landscape maintenance work in the early 2000s. He complained numerous times throughout the years that his co-workers verbally abused and intimidated him by shouting at him, calling him “stupid” and “idiot,” using profane language when speaking to him, and making obscene hand gestures at him. In one case, a co-worker shoved him to the ground. That co-worker, however, was subsequently fired for violating the company’s workplace violence policy.

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