Category Archives: worker’s compensation

“In the Course of Employment” is Broadly Defined

If you are hurt while eating lunch at work, you may be covered by Wisconsin’s workers’ compensation law.

A headline today caught the attention of many who feel worker’s compensation may be too broadly defined. “Officer Hit by Car While Walking to Get Coffee Due Worker’s Comp.” An Oregon court ruled that a police lieutenant who was struck by a car while she was going to get a cup of coffee across the street from her office was entitled to worker’s compensation. The Police Department claimed she was injured during a “solely personal mission” and denied benefits, but the Oregon Worker’s Compensation Board awarded benefits and the Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the Board’s ruling. The Court said the officer was still at work during her coffee run since she was expected to perform community policing duties while not in office.

In Wisconsin the course of employment is similarly broadly defined. A worker does not have to be at his or her specific work station (or in many cases not even on the employer’s premises) to be covered under worker’s compensation.

Such widely varied activities as skiing, shopping, drinking, and swimming have been found compensable under the traveling employee statute.

While on premises, workers are covered during breaks, including bathroom breaks, smoke breaks, fresh air breaks, and meal breaks. Employees are also covered if injured while Continue reading