Intentional Torts of an Employer

The attorneys at Steiden Law Offices represent employees injured in the workplace by the intentional tort of an employer. Under R.C. § 2745.01, an employer can be held liable for an intentional tort with the intent to injure the employee.

R.C. 2745.01 governs an employer's liability for intentional torts. The laws in Ohio provides a narrow exception to the general prohibition against employee lawsuits for workplace injuries under Ohio's workers' compensation system. A claim under R.C. 2745.01 requires proof of the employer's deliberate intent to cause injury to an employee.

Under R.C. 2745.01(C), there is a rebuttable presumption that the employer acted with the deliberate intent to injure an employee if an injury directly resulted from the deliberate removal of an equipment safety guard.

Attorneys for Intentional Torts Against Employees in Ohio

If your employer committed any act that was intended to injure you with the belief that the injury was substantially certain to occur, then contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Steiden Law Offices. Our personal injury attorneys represent workers throughout Southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky.

Our firm has offices in Cincinnati and Mainesville, Ohio, as well as Covington and Florence, Kentucky. Our caring and compassionate personal injury attorneys can review your case. Call to schedule a free discussion.

Call to schedule a free discussion.

Proving an Employer Intended to Hurt You

These lawsuits for an intentional tort committed against an employee for damages resulting from an intentional tort committed by the employer during the course of employment, the employee must prove that the employer either:

  • committed the tortious act with the intent to injure another; or
  • with the belief that the injury was substantially certain to occur.

Under R.C. § 2745.01(B), the term "substantially certain" means that an employer acts with deliberate intent to cause an employee to suffer an injury, a disease, a condition, or death.

Under R.C. § 2745.01(C), the deliberate removal by an employer of an equipment safety guard or deliberate misrepresentation of a toxic or hazardous substance creates a rebuttable presumption that the removal or misrepresentation was committed with intent to injure another if an injury or an occupational disease or condition occurs as a direct result.

Limitations for Intentional Torts by an Employer in Ohio

A lawsuit for an intentional tort by an employer under R.C. § 2745.01 does not apply to claims arising during the course of employment involving:

  • defamation;
  • promissory estoppel;
  • contract;
  • intentional infliction of emotional distress not compensable under Chapters 4121. and 4123. of the Revised Code
  • harassment in violation of Chapter 4112. of the Revised Code;
  • retaliation;
  • civil rights violations; or
  • discrimination. 

Equipment Safety Guard under R.C. 2745.01(C)

If an employer deliberately removed an equipment safety guard, then this type of lawsuit against the employer can be filed. An equipment safety guard under R.C. 2745.01(C) is a device designed to shield the operator from exposure to or injury by a dangerous aspect of the equipment.

In Hewitt v. L.E. Myers Co., 134 Ohio St.3d 199, 2012-Ohio-5317, 981 N.E.2d 795, the Ohio Supreme Court explicitly rejected a broader interpretation reasoning that “to include any generic safety-related items ignores not only the meaning of the words used but also the General Assembly's intent to restrict liability for intentional torts.” The court found that “[f]ree standing items that serve as physical barriers between the employee and potential exposure to injury * * * are not ‘an equipment safety guard’ for purposes of R.C. 2475.01(C).” Id. at ¶ 26.

In Barton v. G.E. Baker Constr., Inc., 9th Dist. Loraine No. 10CA009929, 2011-Ohio-5704, the court held that a “trench box” designed to protect workers from a trench collapse did not constitute an “equipment safety guard” because “[a] trench is not a piece of equipment and the trench box is not designed to protect the operator from any piece of equipment”).

Proving the Employer's Deliberate Intent

In many of these cases, the injured worker will show that the totality of the circumstances establish that the employer intended to cause the injury. If this can be proven, then the employer can be sued for any damage that resulted from the intentional tort.

This article was last updated on September 1, 2017.

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