Summertime often brings work outings, company picnics and firm softball games. Usually, these outings are a source of entertainment and team building, however, accidents can happen. The question then becomes: is this a work related accident because it was at a work event or is it not work related because it wasn’t during the normal course of employment.
In general, recreational or social activities are considered to be within the course of employment when:
- They occur on the premises during a lunch or recreational period as a regular incident of the employment; or The employer, by expressly or impliedly requiring participation, or by making the activity part of the services of an employee, brings the activity within the orbit of the employment; or
- The employer derives substantial benefit from the activity beyond the intangible value of improvement in employee health and morale that is common to all kinds of recreation and social life.
In New Jersey, it has been held compensable when participation was expected by the employer by threatening that you will be hurt (either docking of pay or the employee’s chances of advancement within the company). Also in New Jersey, if volunteers (fire or police) are injured during the course of a fund-raising event, even if they are working for someone else at the time, then the injury is considered compensable.
This can be a complicated issue. If you are injured during a company outing, please call us for a free consultation. We have experienced trial attorneys able to handle the complex legal issues that can arise in a workers’ compensation case.