Kufahl v. Wisconsin Bell, Inc.

An nonsmoking accountant who worked for Wisconsin Bell from 1978 to 1987 alleged that her exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke at her workplace caused a series of ailments that led her to miss work and contributed to her being fired.  A judge in May 1990 ruled that, as the allergist to whom Wisconsin Bell had referred her had concluded, Kufahl had developed a permanent sensitization because of that exposure to smoke on the job.  The judge ruled that, therefore, she was entitled to workers’ compensation.  The State of Wisconsin’s Labor and Industry Review Commission on December 11, 1990 affirmed the judge’s ruling and awarded Kufahl $23,400, concluding that her “ability to move up into higher-paying positions is affected negatively by her permanent sensitization to smoke, and she has lost significant opportunities with the employer.”  Wisconsin Bell declined to appeal the commission’s ruling.  Gunn, E., “Secondhand Smoke Harmed Worker: Panel,” Milwaukee Journal, January 22, 1991, 6.

6.2 TPLR 8.23, No. 88-000676, (Wisconsin Labor and Industry Review Commission 1990).