Employer Responsibility Regarding Employee Exposure to Toxic Substances

In Cunningham v. Anchor Hocking Corp., 558 So. 2d 93 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990), the employees filed a joint complaint against the employer for injuries suffered from exposure to toxic substances resulting from the intentional conduct of their employer. Specifically, they alleged that the employer removed warning labels on toxic substance containers, misrepresented the toxic nature of the substances, and knowingly provided inadequate safety equipment. See 558 So. 2d at 97. The complaint further alleged that the employer diverted a smokestack, resulting in fumes flowing into rather than outside of the plant, and that the employer periodically turned off the plant ventilation system thereby intensifying the level of exposure. See id. at 96. Based on these allegations, the court reversed the summary judgment and found that the employer's actions were substantially certain to result in injury or death to the employees. See id. at 97.