Gingras v. Liberty Bank, No. CA10-426 (Ark. Ct. App. 02/02/11).
Ruling: The Arkansas Court of Appeals held that a bank teller was not entitled to benefits because her injury did not arise out of and in the course of her employment.
What it means: In Arkansas, a worker who has "clocked out" and left work premises may be entitled to compensation if she was performing employment services at the time she was injured.
Summary: A bank teller's duties included opening and closing the bank, so she had a key to the bank and the vault codes. One day, she left work and returned home to find a masked man in her kitchen. Upon seeing that he had a gun, she ran out of her house. As she ran down the front porch steps, she fell and fractured her wrist. The masked man was not found, but a mask was found in the woods near the teller's home. DNA testing of the mask matched a man who was in jail in another state, who allegedly surveilled a bank, followed a teller home, and held her at gunpoint, threatening to kill her unless she opened the bank. At the time of the hearing, the man had not been tried for the attack on the teller. The teller sought benefits. The Arkansas Court of Appeals held that she was not entitled to benefits.
The court concluded that the teller did not prove her injury arose out of her employment. There was no direct evidence that the masked man was in her home with the intent to rob the bank. No evidence showed that the teller knew the man or had a prior encounter with him at the bank.
The court also decided that the attack was not in the course of the teller's employment. She was not within the time and space boundaries of her employment at the time of her attack. She had completed her workday and was not on call. Additionally, she was not performing employment services.
The court noted that the circumstantial evidence suggested that the attack could have been motivated by the man's desire to rob the bank, but reasonable minds could have interpreted that her injury did not arise out of and in the course of employment.
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March 21, 2011
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