On the twelth day of Christmas my true love gave to me twelve drummers drumming. I think this could be his worse gift yet. It’s Christmas Eve and my head is pounding as I stress about last-minute gifts and this guy sends me twelve drummers drumming. I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that this relationship won’t last into the New Year. As they drum, however, I question how they handle all that repetitive motion, drum, drum, drum, and whether my true love has workers’ compensation insurance. So on the final post before the holiday let us discuss some of the stickier workers’ compensation questions that could be raised.
Injuries Caused While Traveling or During Lunch Break: Are these drummers traveling drummers? Do they move from location to location? If employees are employed as traveling salespersons and do not have a fixed worksite and are injured their injuries will likely be compensable. This is different from an individual who has a fixed workplace and is injured while traveling to or from that workplace. This “coming-and-going” rule, however, has some exceptions: 1) if the employer provides the employee’s transportation or 2) the employee is paid wages for travel time or is reimbursed for travel expenses.
Company-Sponsored Activities: Are these drummers drumming as part of their job duties or is this some random group of employees who have gotten together to jam? If an employee is injured during a function or company sponsored activity that the employer is benefiting from the employer’s injury is probably compensable. If they are just jamming and there is no employer benefit then it is a harder argument to make that the injury is compensable. During the holiday season, we often get asked about the employer’s liability for accidents or injuries that occur at or after a holiday gathering. You can minimize this liability by informing employees that attendance at the event is not mandatory and that there is no business purpose for the event. Additionally, hosting the event off-premises will further reiterate that there is no business purpose.