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Monday, February 1, 2010

How is work working out? Have you been injured while working out or at a company sporting event?

If you recall my prior post about the subjective/objective test for injuries outside of work, you may be entitled to compensation.

The same test applies to an injury while at a gym, company sporting event, or even a vacation!

All of this is codified in Labor Code Section 3600a(9). The text of a(9) is confusing but some real world examples can explain the broad scope of the labor code in providing benefits to employees.

Consider the following three examples:

1. An employee was working out in his free time at his local gym. Employee worked as a personal trainer for a major chain of personal training gyms. While working out in his free time, employee injured his knee. The court found the knee injury to be compensable. The employee had a subjective belief that he was required to maintain his physical fitness. The judge found it was objectively reasonable for the employee to believe he had to be physically fit. Therefore the employees claim was valid.

There is an indication that if the employee had been engaging in an outrageous workout regime or had been getting paid by a third party at the time of the injury then it would not be compensable.

2. Employee works as a law clerk at a law firm. Employee is injured at a company softball game which occurred after hours. Employee's injury is deemed compensable

The basis for this award to the employee is because the employee had a subjective belief that they were required to play softball. The judge found the belief reasonable based on the employers use of work areas to advertise the softball game, the number of supervisors and managers at the game, the indication that employees were expected to attend.
-Ezzy v. WCAB (1983) 146 Cal.App.3d 252, 48 CCC 611

3. A member of a police SERT team is on a training run while off duty when he slips, falls and breaks his ankle. It is held to be a compensable claim.

The police officer testified he was of the subjective belief that he had to work out due to an upcoming physical fitness test. The judge found this to be objectively reasonable as a member of the police SWAT team the employee was expected to maintain a high level of fitness for work and he could face discipline or loss of job if he was found not physically fit. Therefore the injury was found compensable. Wilson v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd. (1987) 196 Cal.App.3d 902

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