On September 9, 2022, the Supreme Court of Nebraska, in Dutcher v. Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, ruled that workers compensation (WC) exclusive remedy barred an employee’s wrongful termination claim brought under the Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act (NFEPA) because the claim arose from a compensable work-related injury.
In this case, an employee who received WC benefits for a work-related injury was terminated because she was unable to find a position that would accommodate her physical restrictions. As a result, the employee sued the employer under the NFEPA for wrongful termination on the basis of her disability.
The court analyzed Nebraska WC statute 48-148 to determine whether the employee’s disability claim was barred by WC exclusive remedy. The statute provides that if an employee files a claim for WC benefits from an employer subject to the Workers’ Compensation Act, that action constitutes a release of all claims arising from such injury against the employer. The court reviewed prior decisions that interpreted the phrase “arising from” and concluded that, for purposes of the statute, the employee’s disability claim under the NFEPA was a claim “arising from” an injury caused by an accident arising out of and in the course of her employment.
The court then noted that its opinion should not be interpreted as restricting an employee’s ability to file claims for wrongful termination. However, in this case, the court found that there was sufficient nexus between the employee’s compensable workplace injury and her disability claim under the NFEPA. Thus, the court concluded, the employee’s disability claim was barred by WC exclusive remedy.
For more information on other cases monitored by NCCI’s Legal Division, visit previous Court Case Updates and
Court Case Insights, under the
Legal section of
This article is provided solely as a reference tool to be used for informational purposes only. The information in this article shall not be construed or interpreted as providing legal or any other advice. Use of this article for any purpose other than as set forth herein is strictly prohibited.