Teacher proves injuries from breaking up fight are compensable
Case name: Buffalo Public Schools, 111 NYWCLR 86 (N.Y.W.C.B. 2011).
Ruling: The New York Workers' Compensation Board held that a teacher's injuries, sustained when he was punched by a boy while attempting to stop a fight off school premises and after school, arose out of and in the course of his employment.
What it means: In New York, a worker's injuries sustained in an assault while fulfilling his job duties occurs in the course of employment even if the worker physically leaves the employer's presence.
A music teacher was leaving school premises when he observed several boys, some of whom were students at his school, chasing and assaulting a student. After driving off the school premises, he again observed the student being knocked to the ground and kicked by six others. The teacher then began beeping his horn and threatening to call 911 on the assailants. The teacher was injured when one of the youths punched him on the side of his head. A New York Workers' Compensation Board panel held that his injuries arose out of and in the course of his employment. The panel found that although the teacher physically left the employer's premises, he was acting in the course of his employment and was fulfilling his responsibility to look out for the safety of a student who had just fled off the school property in an effort to escape an attack when he also was assaulted by one of the assailants. The panel noted that there was no evidence that the teacher was assaulted for any reason other than as a response to his attempt to stop an assault upon a student.
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July 11, 2011
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