Is It Forced Fun?

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      Summer means company gatherings and activities. But what happens if an employee is injured at one of these. Will it be covered by WC?

      Here are 4 tests to apply to the facts surrounding the injury to help determine.

      1. Did the accident occur on the employer's premises? An affirmative response does not guarantee compensability. Making recreational facilities available does not make the employer liable. But neither is it required that the injury occur on the employer's premises to be compensable.

      2. Was the event or team organized by the employer? Company-organized softball teams competing in "industrial leagues" may qualify under this provision. However, several employees deciding to form a team is wholly different from a team organized by the employer, encouraging "good" ballplayers to participate.

      3. Did the employer pay for the activity? It is unclear if this refers to the total cost or a subsidy on behalf of the team.

      4. Did the employer benefit? Advertising in the community (team shirts), improved employee morale or better team work; an employer can "benefit" from these activities in more ways than tangible outputs.

      Chris Boggs advises, "Make any and all social or recreational activities expressly voluntary. Any hint of requirement or employer benefit could cause a problem.

      No one rule will have the answer to every situation. Before planning an event, it's best to discuss the exposure with your client.

      Questions? Shout!

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