Jump down stairs during lunch break does not further employer's business
Penn State University v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board, 26 PAWCLR 13 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2011).
Ruling: The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court reversed the Workers' Compensation Appeal Board's grant of the claimant's claim petition.
What it means: Employees who remain on an employer's premises for their lunch break and sustain an injury are generally considered to be in furtherance of the employer's business unless the activity they are engaged in was so wholly foreign to their employment. A claimant who voluntarily jumps down a flight of stairs during his lunch break on the employer's premises is not furthering the employer's business.
Summary: The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court found that the Workers' Compensation Appeal Board erred in granting the claimant's claim petition because he was not furthering the employer's business when he was injured. The claimant, who alternated between his regular job as a cook and housekeeping duties, alleged that he injured his legs when he jumped down a flight of stairs on the employer's premises during his lunch break. The workers' compensation judge determined that the claimant voluntarily jumped down the stairs on a "whim" and did not trip or fall. The WCJ found the claimant was acting within the course and scope of his employment at the time of the injury. The board affirmed the WCJ's grant of the claim petition. The court disagreed, finding that the premeditated, deliberate, extreme, and inherently high-risk nature of the claimant's actions were sufficient to remove him from the course and scope of his employment.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
April 4, 2011
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