New York: Exclusive Remedy Defense Is Not Available to Village Accused of Videotaping Lifeguards Changing Into Bathing Suits

A New York court has found, in relevant part, that the exclusive remedy defense may not be maintained by a former employer in a civil action filed against it by plaintiffs, all former lifeguards at the defendant's parks, alleging that defendant surreptitiously installed a video recording device in the room where they changed in and out of their bathing suits, that such action violated Labor Law § 203-c, and that they were damaged thereby.  While the court allowed the use of the exclusive remedy defense in one count of the plaintiffs’ complaint—the one alleging negligence—the court indicated that of of limited value to defendant since the action of installing the camera would not likely have been caused by negligence and since the Labor Law statute clearly encompassed damages for emotional harm.  Moreover, the exclusive remedy provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Law had no impact on the right to damages for negligent infliction of emotional harm, specifically allowed under the statute should the fact finder determine that a camera was present and that the defendant was responsible.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is a leading commentator and expert on the law of workers’ compensation.

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to

See Conroy v. Incorporated Village of Freeport, 2014 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 772 (Feb. 27, 2014) [2014 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 772 (Feb. 27, 2014)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 104.05 [104.05]

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.

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