One of the most exciting times of the year for many workers falls around Christmas, when many receive acknowledgement and bonuses for the hard work of the past year. Often, to show their employees their appreciation, companies will throw festive holiday parties.
These are a great opportunity to unwind, relax, and socialize with one another in a laid-back atmosphere. But sometimes things can get to be a little too laid back.
It is All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Hurt
Consuming a lot of alcohol, a common holiday party occurrence, can often cause us to make poor judgments. What happens if an employee has a little bit too much to drink and slips and falls? Is it still the company’s responsibility? Does workers’ compensation still take effect? That answer is contingent upon many different factors.
Though states differ in their criteria for workers’ compensation, they all agree that if an injury occurs while on the job, a claim should be filed. The problem is, when it comes to an injury at a holiday party, it can be difficult to determine whether you are actually on the job; is it work or is it social?
In Consideration of Filing a Claim
Workers’ compensation covers any injuries or illnesses that are considered within the “course and scope of your employment.” Most courts have considered this definition broadly, often erring on the side of coverage.
Under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act, the legal standard requires two things: the activity must be “a regular incident of employment,” and it must also provide benefit to the employer other than just employee morale.
The party injury may be considered a work injury, taking into consideration certain conditions:
- The event was endorsed, and the employers benefitted from it in some way
- The employees were required or expected to attend
- The employees were paid to participate
- The party itself was considered compensation for employees in some manner
- Awards and bonuses were given out at the party that were not to be given out at any other time
- The accident took place at the business itself, due to an unsafe condition that was never fixed properly
These conditions help to prove a case for workers’ compensation.
What Can Your Employer Do?
By simply taking a few preventative measures, employers can help to minimize your chances for getting injured and needing to file a claim for workers’ compensation.
Some of these measures may include the following:
- Alcohol was served by professional servers
- Attendance was clearly not mandatory
- No awards were given out
- Family members were invited
- The party was at a location separate from the office property
Cherry Hill Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks LLP Help Injured Workers
If you or a loved one has been injured while at an office party, and you are wondering whether you qualify for workers’ compensation, it is important that you speak with an experienced and knowledgeable Cherry Hill workers’ compensation attorney at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks LLP. For a free consultation, call 856-761-3773 or contact us online today. We serve clients in the City of Camden and across South Jersey.