Court rules against exclusive remedy argument in harassment case

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    sexual harassment

    A lawyer who was successfully sued by a former legal assistant for intentional infliction of emotional distress and sexual harassment failed his appeal in attempting to apply the exclusivity provision of the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act as part of his attempt to reverse a $190,000 award, according to a ruling filed Wednesday in a state appeals.

    Edward P. Holzberg, was found liable to the plaintiff, his former employee, after three years of alleged harassment focusing on her gender and race, much of which included name-calling, describing sexual encounters, and other sexual-related actions described in court documents No. 19-P-778, filed in the Appeals Court of Massachusetts in Essex, Massachusetts.

    The appeals court, in affirming the earlier judgment and tossing Mr. Holzberg’s appeal that the exclusive remedy provisions barred the lawsuit, cited 30-year-old case law in which the state Supreme Judicial Court “recognized an exception to the exclusivity provision, holding that it is not applicable when an employee brings ‘an action against a fellow employee who commits an intentional tort which was in no way within the scope of employment furthering the interests of the employer.’”