Tuesday, March 27, 2007

It's All In The Game - Workers' Compensation, That Is.

Just a quick note pointing you to today's "Decision of Interest" in the New York Law Journal. In Matter of Bogert v. E.B. Design Air, Inc. (NYLJ, 3/27/07), the Appellate Division, Third Department, affirmed a Decision of the Workers' Compensation Board holding that an employee who was injured while participating in a softball game at a company picnic was entitled to workers' compensation benefits. The case offers a good discussion of the criteria used to award coverage with respect to off-duty athletic injuries under New York's Workers' Compensation Law.

As Summer approaches and softball season comes into full swing, the lure of company outings to boost employee morale may be very tempting. However, given the holding in Bogert as well as New York Court of Appeals precedent, employers may do well to simply order a bucket of chicken, tell folks that attendance is not mandatory and that the gathering has no specific business purpose, turn on the karaoke machine, and hang a sign in a conspicuous place saying "EAT AND SING AT YOUR OWN RISK."

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