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A registered sex offender who sustained injuries when he was assaulted by his co-worker on the job isn't entitled to workers compensation benefits, the Nebraska Court of Appeals has ruled.
Phillip McDaniel was working for Denver-based Western Sugar Cooperative monitoring machinery and ensuring work areas were clean in February 2013 when a co-worker, Jason Bates, assaulted him with a brass hammer, according to court records.
Mr. Bates called Mr. McDaniel a “chimo", which is short for child molester, according to court documents, after seeing on the Internet that Mr. McDaniel is a registered sex offender. Mr. Bates' employment was terminated immediately.
Having sustained injuries to his nose, clavicle and left shoulder, Mr. McDaniel filed a petition for workers comp benefits, according to records.
Determining that Mr. McDaniel was assaulted for reasons personal to Mr. Bates, the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court found that he was not entitled to workers comp benefits, records show.
On appeal, Mr. McDaniel argued that “even if the motivation for the assault was purely personal, he is still entitled to compensation because the employment facilitated the assault,” according to records.
The Nebraska Court of Appeals on Tuesday affirmed the state Workers' Compensation Court's decision, ruling that Mr. McDaniel is not entitled to workers comp benefits, as the assault “was wholly disconnected from Western Sugar's business.”
“There is no evidence in the present case of any employment dispute between McDaniel and Bates or any animosity over work performance,” the ruling states. “Although the sole relationship between the men was as co-workers, the motivation for the assault was Bates' personal feelings toward discovering that McDaniel is a sex offender.”
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is citing an Alabama social services organization after receiving a complaint alleging workplace violence, the administration said Monday.