In order to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, the law requires that the injury must be sustained in the “course of employment.” When discussing injuries which occur while playing on an Employer’s Sports Team, the following criteria determine whether an injured worker is entitled to benefits: where the employee, whether on or off the employer’s premises, is injured while actually engaged in the furtherance of the employer’s business or affairs.
If you are injured while participating on the employer’s softball, baseball, basketball or any type of team, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The analysis by the court will be based on the specific facts of your situation. If the employer sponsors the team, pays a membership fee for the team, provides the team uniforms, and in general supports the team, then you will be eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits if you are injured while playing on the team. The Courts have held that participation on the team actually furthers the business or affairs of the employer.
The same is true if you are injured at a company-sponsored picnic or while volunteering at a company-sponsored event. Again, the Courts have held that attendance at the picnic promotes the employer’s interest in good relationships with and among the employees, which in turn fosters good morale and furthers the business or affairs of the employer. If volunteering at company-sponsored charity run, the participation promotes a positive image of the company which furthers the business of the company. In both these situations, if you are injured while participating, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
The facts surrounding your injury should be carefully looked into to determine your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. If you have suffered an injury while engaging in an employer-sponsored event, please contact us to discuss your specific situation.