Workers' Compensation

May 24, 2012

By now, many have seen the video of a Monroeville Mall store employee who was beaten while trying to stop an alleged shoplifter. If an employee sustains injuries as a result of a violent, intentional attack, is she covered by workers’ compensation law? The answer is dependent on the motives of the assailant. Section 301(c)(1) of the Workers’ Compensation Act provides that the term “injury,” as used in the Act, does not include injuries caused by an assailant for “reasons personal” to the assailant. For instance, if the assailant in the Monroeville Mall video had assaulted the store employee because the employee had spilled a drink on her at a party last week, the injuries, quite clearly, would not be covered by workers’ compensation. Importantly, this is true even if the assailant is a co-employee. On the other hand, if, as reported, the assailant struck the employee because the employee was trying to stop the assailant from stealing, then the employee’s injuries would clearly be covered by workers’ compensation.