It depends.  The general rule is that worker’s compensation only applies to injuries that are considered job-related.  While some courts consider employer parties and events to be job-related, others feel worker’s compensation should only apply to injuries occurring in the workplace.  Even still, some courts have no set rule on job-related injuries, examining various factors on a case-by-case basis.

What Kinds of Factors Determine Whether Injuries During an Employer-Sponsored Event Are Job-Related?

Because employees who attend employer-sponsored events usually aren’t there to work (e.g., an accountant doesn’t attend a company party to review balance sheets), most courts must make the determination of whether or not the event itself is particularly job related.  This involves looking into a number of factors including:

  • Whether or not the employee was forced to go to the event
  • Whether the employee gained some type of benefit from attending (e.g. extra pay, work hours, etc.)
  • The employer’s control over or participation in the event
  • Whether or not it is a reoccurring or one time event

Does It Matter If the Injury Occurred While Traveling To or From the Event?

Yes, but this is only an additional factor for courts to look at when determining if an injury is job-related.  Most courts will still use the factors listed above, regardless of whether or not an employee is injured while traveling to or from an employer-sponsored event.  However, it is important to note that some courts strictly hold that traveling to or from employer-sponsored events is not considered job-related.  This is based on the general rule that an employee’s travel to and from work is considered outside the scope of employment.

How Can a Lawyer Help Me?

If you have been denied worker’s compensation for injuries during an employer-sponsored event, you should contact an experienced employment attorney to assert your rights.  A lawyer can review your worker’s compensation forms, as well as clue you in on current worker’s compensation laws in your area.  Ultimately, an attorney should be able to help determine whether or not your injuries require proper coverage under your employer’s worker’s compensation benefits.