A Louisiana appeals court ruled that an employer was not liable for death compensation for the fatal shooting of an employee by her boyfriend at her workplace.
Fabeka Hayes worked as a manager of a Church’s Chicken restaurant in New Iberia. While she was closing the restaurant on May 12, 2020, Clarence Joseph Payton walked into the establishment and fatally shot Ms. Hayes, whom he had been dating, according to Hayes v. Church’s Chickenfiled in the Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit on Feb. 1.
Mrs. Hayes’ mother filed a claim for workers’ compensation, which Church’s Chicken denied, claiming that Ms. Hayes’ death did not occur within the scope of her employment. A workers̵7; compensation judge found that Hayes’ death was not related to her employment duties, as her murder was related to a domestic dispute with Mr. Payton about things unrelated to her job.
Ms. Hayes’ mother appealed, arguing that Church’s Chicken failed to meet its burden of proof that Ms. Hayes was engaged in a dispute. She insisted that her daughter had ended the relationship with Mr. Payton after living together for 12 years, and cut all ties with him days before the murder. The mother also argued that because the surveillance of the incident showed that Ms. Hayes did not actively engage or fight, there was no dispute with Mr. Payton, who she testified had threatened or tried to kill Ms. Hayes earlier.
Given this record, the Louisiana Court of Appeal said, the judge did not err in concluding that an ongoing domestic dispute with Mr. Payton “was in no way connected to (Ms. Hayes’s) employment other than the fact that it occurred at her workplace.”
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