Case name: Jones v. USF Holland, Inc. et al., No. 10AP-537 (Ohio Ct. App. 05/17/11).
Ruling: The Ohio Court of Appeals held that a driver was not entitled to benefits because he could not show that his injuries resulting from a slip and fall in a hotel bathroom arose out of his employment.
What it means: In Ohio, evidence that a worker was engaged in an activity logically related to the employer's business shows that the worker's injuries arose out of his employment.
Summary: A truck driver delivered his cargo to his employer's terminal and went "off the clock." He went to a hotel approved and paid for by his employer for his mandatory rest period. The hotel was two miles from the terminal. The driver was awakened by a telephone call from his supervisor, who told him to report to the terminal within two hours for a new delivery assignment. The driver took a shower and was injured when he slipped and fell on the ceramic tile in the bathroom of the hotel room. He sought workers' compensation benefits. The Ohio Court of Appeals held that the driver was not entitled to benefits.
The court found that the driver's injuries occurred in the course of his employment. He was a traveling employee. Traveling was an essential part of his job duties and benefitted the employer. When he was injured, he was at a location encouraged by the employer and was preparing himself for his next work assignment. Although he was participating in personal hygiene, the court found he was not on a personal errand.
The court also found the driver's injuries did not arise out of his employment. The driver was not close to the employer's terminal, and the employer had no control over the scene of the accident. The court said there was insufficient causation between the driver taking a shower and the employer's business of transporting cargo.
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June 30, 2011
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