Case name: Shaydak v. Industrial Commission of Arizona, No. 1 CA-IC 11-0002 (Ariz. Ct. App. 09/22/11).
The Arizona Court of Appeals held that a waitress was not entitled to compensation for her knee injury because the injury did not occur in the course of her employment.
What it means: In Arizona, an injury arising out of personal comfort must still be connected to the employment.
A waitress brought her dogs to work because she thought they would be warmer in her car than at her home. She left her car with the dogs inside in the employee parking lot. The shift supervisor allowed her to check on her dogs in the morning and again in the afternoon. After checking on the dogs, the waitress decided to jump a five-foot chain link fence that surrounded the employee parking lot to save time walking to an opening for foot traffic. She landed incorrectly and injured her knee. She sought treatment, which revealed that her knee required surgery. She sought benefits. The Arizona Court of Appeals held that she was not entitled to benefits.
The waitress argued that checking on her dogs was a personal comfort activity approved by her supervisor. The court said that even if it was a personal comfort activity, jumping the fence removed her actions from the course of her employment. The waitress said that jumping the fence would cut in half the time it took to get back to the restaurant. She said that she "needed to get back" to work. However, coworkers were available to cover her tables. The waitress also admitted that the restaurant was not busy. Witnesses said it only took a couple of minutes to walk from the restaurant to the employee parking lot using the foot traffic entrance. The court explained that the waitress's decision to jump the fence was not connected to her work.
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November 14, 2011
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