California Workers Compensation Exclusivity Rule

In California, the place of intentional torts in the workers' compensation system has been somewhat more complicated, for at least two reasons. First, the workers' compensation exclusivity statute ( 3600), which declares that 'any injury . . . arising out of and in the course of . . . employment' is covered by the Act, is unqualified by any reference to accident or intentional tort. Second, section 4553 provides that employees shall have their workers' compensation awards 'increased by one-half' if the employee's injury results from the employer's 'serious and willful misconduct.' The legislature, it would seem, has thereby envinced its intent to include at least some portion of what are classified as 'intentional torts' within the workers' compensation system." ( Fermino v. Fedco, Inc. (1994) 7 Cal. 4th 701, 709.)