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2010AP1992 Anderson v. Hebert

Torts
Defamation; workers compensation

The Worker’s Compensation Act is not the exclusive remedy when an employer defames a former employee.
“The County also contends Wisconsin courts have applied the exclusive remedy provision to bar claims arising from post-termination injuries other than defamation. The County principally relies on Pederson & Voechting v. Kromrey, 201 Wis. 599, 231 N.W. 267 (1930). There, Kromrey was terminated on a Saturday afternoon. Id. at 600. He returned to his former employer’s premises on Monday morning to receive his paycheck and collect his tools. Id. While there, he slipped and fell, injuring his foot. Id. On appeal, the issue was ‘whether, under these circumstances, the relation of employer and employee existed’ so that Kromrey was entitled to worker’s compensation benefits. Id. at 600-01. Our supreme court held Kromrey was not an employee at the time of the injury because he returned to the workplace for his own personal convenience. The court stated, ‘If the [employment relationship] does exist, it must appear that the errand of the employee was not merely for his personal convenience, but that his presence there was referable to his contract of employment, and in some measure, in obedience to his contractual obligation.’ Id. at 604. Anderson alleges he was defamed after he resigned from his employment and his injury was not incurred ‘in obedience to his contractual obligation.’ See id. Thus, Pederson & Voechting actually supports Anderson’s position that post-termination defamation is not covered by the Act and therefore is not subject to the exclusive remedy provision.”

Reversed.

Recommended for publication in the official reports.

2010AP1992 Anderson v. Hebert

Dist. III, Barron County, Harrington, J., Peterson, J.

Attorneys: For Appellant: Reinhardt, Peter M., Menomonie; For Respondent: Scott, James R., Milwaukee; Wistrom, Oyvind, Milwaukee

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