The Workers Compensation Act did not preempt plaintiff’s claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress caused by her co-workers who staged a mock robbery at the cashier’s window she manned for the employer.  The Workers Compensation Act does preempt some intentional torts, but not those which are not part of the compensation bargain.  Here, the jury was properly instructed on that legal principle and it concluded, on substantial evidence, that the mock robbery was outside the compensation bargain.  The trial court did not abuse its discretion in rejecting a judicial estoppel defense that the employer first raised after the verdict.  Plaintiff’s application for workers compensation benefits was not fully informed but was employer-facilitated without plaintiff’s full understanding of the consequences.

California Court of Appeal, Fifth District (Smith, J.); October 24, 2016 (published November 15, 2016); 2016 WL 6780437