Suarez v. Michigan Multi King, Inc., 25 MIWCLR 3 (Mich. W.C.A.C. 2011).
The Michigan Workers' Compensation Appellate Commission reversed the magistrate's decision awarding benefits to a store manager who left the work premises to purchase coffee for his employees and was injured on his way back to the store when tires slipped off a truck.
What it means: In Michigan, breaktime activities off the employer's premises, such as buying coffee, are not compensable in the absence of a work-related purpose.
Summary: The commission reversed the magistrate's decision awarding benefits to a store manager who left the work premises to purchase coffee for his employees and was injured on his way back to the store when tires slipped off a truck. The manager's supervisor indicated that the manager had a flexible work schedule and purchasing coffee for the employees was not part of the manager's job description. In reversing, the commission noted that the magistrate erred in finding that the manager purchased coffee to boost morale. He purchased coffee because his workers spoke imperfect English. The manager was required to provide evidence that connected the reason he left work to purchase coffee for the employees to his job as the store manager.
The commission rejected the magistrate's contention that because the injury occurred within 50 meters of the building in which the store was located, the injury occurred on an extension of the employer's premises. The law requires ownership, maintenance, or control, and none existed in this case.
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March 24, 2011
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