BI’s Article search uses Boolean search capabilities. If you are not familiar with these principles, here are some quick tips.

To search specifically for more than one word, put the search term in quotation marks. For example, “workers compensation”. This will limit your search to that combination of words.

To search for a combination of terms, use quotations and the & symbol. For example, “hurricane” & “loss”.

Login Register Subscribe



SAN FRANCISCO-California employers now can be sued for workplace injuries an unborn child sustains while its mother is on the job, the state's Supreme Court ruled last week.

The 7-0 decision in the case of Snyder vs. Michael's Stores Inc. nullifies a 1989 Court of Appeal decision in Bell vs. Macy's California, which held that workers compensation provides the exclusive remedy for unborn children injured when their mothers are hurt at work, according to court documents.

Last week's Supreme Court decision stemmed from the case of Naomi Snyder, who was several months' pregnant in October 1993 while working in Modesto, Calif., for Irving, Texas-based Michaels Stores. She claimed carbon monoxide generated by an outside janitorial company hired to buff floors accumulated in the arts-and-crafts store because of inadequate ventilation. That resulted in 21 customers and workers being taken to a hospital after complaining of nausea, breathing problems and headaches.

Later, Ms. Snyder filed suit against Michaels, claiming her daughter's cerebral palsy and other disabilities were caused by the incident. A trial court threw out the suit, citing the 1989 ruling. A court of appeal reinstated the case, reasoning that the exclusive remedy provision did not apply to the daughter's injuries, court documents show.

The Supreme Court agreed, rejecting an argument by Michaels that, under case law, an unborn child can be considered an employee. The court also rejected an argument that employers are caught between its ruling and federal law prohibiting employers from discriminating by citing fetal protection policies to exclude child-bearing women from potentially hazardous jobs. That issue needs to be addressed by the Legislature, the court ruled.