Happy hour in Pennsylvania could be an opportunity to head over to a bar or restaurant with your coworkers for some camaraderie and to celebrate a successful job-related event. It might also be a chance for you to network and build contacts that may help you in your career aspirations. Getting injured in an accident while driving home, however, may not always entitle you to workers’ compensation benefits, as reported by BusinessInsurance.com.
To qualify for workers’ comp in Pennsylvania, an injury must have occurred while acting within the scope and course of your employment. This holds true regardless of whether you are working remotely or someplace other than at your employer’s premises. For employees who are working in sales or are otherwise classified as a “traveling” employee, however, filing a claim for financial relief through workers’ comp may not always be successful if those injuries were related to a happy hour event.
Although it may be successfully argued otherwise, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania recently found that a traveling employee involved in a vehicle accident on the way home from a happy hour gathering was not entitled to workers’ comp benefits. The traveling employee, in this case, worked for the Allentown branch of a uniform company and his claim for benefits was initially dismissed by a workers’ comp judge. The uniform salesman filed an appeal with the Workers Compensation Appeals Board, but the Board affirmed the judge’s decision. A final appeal made to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania resulted in a majority opinion finding that the injuries were not the result of the salesman acting within the scope of his employment. Except for the dissenting opinion of two of the court’s judges, the injuries were considered as resulting from the employee’s attendance at a social event.
This information is provided for educational purposes, and should not be interpreted as legal advice.