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Death Benefits Denied When Estranged Husband Murdered Employee

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In South Dakota, Julie Tassler served divorce papers to her husband on Dec. 23, 2008. The following day, while on break, her vengeful husband shot and killed her and committed suicide. This seems to be most obviously a domestic dispute, but Tassler’s estate made a claim against her employer (HSBC Card Services) for workers’ compensation death benefits. The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation denied their request, as they claimed it had nothing to do with the terms of her employment. The case was taken to a state circuit court, which affirmed the previous judgement. Feeling as though Tassler’s death would not have happened without her employment with HSBC, which caused her to wait in a parking lot where the shooting happened, they appealed the case to the State Supreme Court. The court noted that worker deaths have to occur at their place of work during working hours, and they must be related to the job. This, everyone agreed, was certainly the case as she was waiting in the employer’s parking lot until her break was over. They stated that her situation was of a very clearly personal nature, and had nothing to do with her employment. In other words, she could just as easily be murdered working any type of job. Nothing inherent in her job required her to stay on work premises, nor did anything stop her husband from killing her off work premises.

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Death Benefits Denied When Estranged Husband Murdered Employee by
Authored by: Harrison Barnes