During the holiday season, there are many additional risks for workers. From the increased chance of an auto accident while driving for work to dangers from aggressive shoppers in retail environments or tree trimming accidents for outdoor workers. And, of course, the winter weather creates many hazards. One additional risk that many people don't think very much about, however, is the dangers of getting hurt at a holiday party.
Our Greensboro workers' compensation lawyers want to remind workers and employers of the importance of maintaining a safe environment at festive holiday gatherings. We also want to help workers to better understand their rights when it comes to workers' compensation benefits after an injury at a work party.
Injury at a Work Party- When Are You Covered?
Under workers' compensation laws, workers are generally supposed to be covered for any injury that arises as a direct result of doing something that you have to do for your job. If your boss sent you to the store to buy holiday gifts, for example, this would be a situation where you were doing a work task and any injuries you suffered while shopping for the work gifts would be covered.
When you are at a work party, however, things get a little trickier. After all, you might be at the party enjoying yourself and not really working at all. On the other hand, if you were required to attend a party to socialize with clients and you went as part of your job, then it is hard to argue that any injuries you sustained didn't come as a result of doing workplace tasks.
As such, the question of whether your work injuries at a party are covered or not is going to be answered by considering the circumstances of your particular situation. Under South Carolina law, for example, there are some specific guidelines that are typically used to determine if a worker is covered for a work-injury sustained at a party or not. In general, the guidelines stipulate that you could be covered for injuries you suffered at a work party if:
- Your party occurred during lunch or during a regular work period, at the normal place where you work.
- You were required by either implication or express order to go to the party
- Your employer significantly benefits from your attendance at the party, beyond just the benefit that comes from a holiday celebration with staff.
As these rules show, the general focus is going to be on whether you had to be at the party or whether your employer benefited from you being there. If so, then you were doing something for your job and are covered.
Employers and employees, therefore, need to be aware that workers' compensation benefits can and do apply even in certain social settings over the holidays and appropriate safety rules and guidelines should be followed in these situations just as they are at any job site or during any performance of job tasks.
If you or your loved one has been injured on-the-job, contact the Carolina Workers' Compensation Attorneys at Lee Law Offices, P.A. for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. Call 1-800-887-1965.
Construction Workers at Risk of Workplace Accidents During Holiday Travel Season, Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyers Blog, November 18, 2012