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Fermino v. Fedco, Inc.

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Fermino filed suit against Fedco, Inc. for false imprisonment when the store manager would not allow Fermino to leave a windowless room until she confessed to a theft.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    An employee can bring a claim against an employer for injury due to employer conduct if the conduct is outside of the employer’s role.

    Facts.

    After a theft at Fedco, Inc. (Fedco), the store manager called Fermino into a windowless room to interrogate her regarding the theft. Security was present in the room and the manager demanded Fermino did not leave the room until she confessed to the theft. Fermino filed suit against Fedco, Inc. for false imprisonment when the store manager would not allow Fermino to leave a windowless room until she confessed to a theft. The trial court ruled that Fermino had to seek redress through worker’s compensation and the appellate court affirmed.

    Issue.

    Whether an employee can bring a claim against an employer for injury due to employer conduct if the conduct is outside of the employer’s role?

    Held.

    Yes. The judgment of the appellate court is reversed. Employer conduct that amounts to false imprisonment is outside of the role of employment and is not protected by the Worker’s Compensation Act.

    Discussion.

    The Workers’ Compensation Act permits an employee to bring a claim against an employer for injury due to employer conduct if the conduct is outside of the employer’s role. Conduct is considered out of an employer’s role if it is considered questionable to the employment. If the employer injures an employee and is acting within his proper role, then the employee is covered under worker’s compensation.


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