Accident during paid break is within course, scope of employment
Case name: U.S. Bank Home Mortgage v. Schrecker, No. 2011-CA-002253-WC (Ky. Ct. App. 09/14/12).
The Kentucky Court of Appeals held that a worker's injury while she was crossing the street to get food during her paid break occurred in the course and scope of her employment.
What it means: In Kentucky, a worker can be entitled to benefits for an injury that occurred off-premises during a paid break if the worker left the premises for a "personal convenience."
Summary: A worker for a bank was entitled to a one-hour unpaid lunch break and two 20-minute paid breaks during her workday. She was required to clock in and out for the breaks, but to use a different code for paid and unpaid breaks. She clocked out using the code for paid leave. While crossing the street to go to a fast food restaurant, she was struck by a vehicle and sustained injuries. She sought workers' compensation benefits. The Kentucky Court of Appeals held that she was entitled to benefits.
The court pointed out that no case addressed the issue of accidents that occurred off-premises during a paid break. The court considered the amount of control the bank retained over the worker, whether it was a paid break, and whether the accident occurred as a result of the hazard being encountered in going to and from the workplace.
It was a common practice for bank employees to obtain food from restaurants across the street. This was condoned by the bank. Although the bank asserted that the worker could have gone to the vending machine on the premises, the court pointed out that the bank did not require employees to take unpaid breaks on premises. The court found that the worker was on a paid break at the time of the accident and therefore was within the course and scope of her employment.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
December 3, 2012
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