Examples abound of workers offering their skills outside the workplace: Nurses and doctors aid the injured or ill; contractors assist someone with heavy lifting or short hauling while on a hardware run; benevolent computer techies make a quick fix for a customer without a dispatch order. If one of your employees suffers an injury while providing such help, can the employee collect under Workers Comp? After all, they were doing their work.
A California correctional officer, injured while helping at the scene of an accident on his way to work, was denied Workers Comp benefits on the basis that his services did not qualify as regular employment. Citing an ethical standard set forth for correctional workers in the Ethics Cadet Workbook, the injured officer claimed it was his ethical duty as a corrections officer to assist those in need, regardless of when or where. Hence, he argued that his services at the accident were related directly to his employment.
However, the court disagreed, stating that: “The fact that the law enforcement code of ethics for correctional officers speaks of a duty to serve humankind and safeguard lives and property does not confer authority on a correctional officer to act outside the scope of his statutory jurisdiction.”
Knowing the eligibility rules for Workers Comp benefits is essential for you and your employees alike. Now might be the time for a refresher course. For more information about your Comp coverage rules, call our service team today.