Jeffrey Adelson quoted in Business Insurance July/August Issue | Cover Story | By Louise Esola

When sex crimes take place in the workplace

Exclusive remedy in comp complicates legal and liability scenario as awareness of sexual assault rises after #MeToo

Legal outcomes often depend on the facts surrounding the assault: Was the perpetrator a coworker, an acquaintance or a stranger? Were there warning signs or security lapses? Where did the incident happen? Was a physical injury documented?

Jurisdiction is also an important factor in the success or failure of a case, legal experts say. 

“There are a lot of questions that have to be answered,” said Jeff Adelson, a partner with the Newport Beach, California-based law firm Adelson McLean P.C., which represents employers. Cases in California often hinge on who the perpetrator was: a coworker, where the risk is not inherent, or a member of the public, in a public-facing business where violence is always a workplace risk. 

“There’s a flood of people coming in retail stores all the time,” Mr. Adelson said. 

Most states allow for exclusive remedy defense in sexual assault cases, and the cases often see years of litigation. Complicating the issue, many assaults are determined to have resulted in mental injuries only and not all states allow for mental injuries in workers compensation. 

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About Jeffrey Adelson

Jeff Adelson, General Counsel and Co-Managing Partner at Adelson McLean, has practiced in the field of Workers’ Compensation for almost 40 years. In addition, Jeffrey Adelson’s legal career includes experience in the areas of civil, family, and criminal law. He enjoys the field of employment and Worker’s Compensation. A strong believer in human rights, he abhors any type of intolerance.

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