Home > Uncategorized > No Liability for Off-Hours Bathroom Use

No Liability for Off-Hours Bathroom Use

In his earlier years, your humble blogger worked as a clerk in his under graduate university bookstore.  Of course, being a student, he on occasion would visit the bookstore even when he was not working there, in an effort to keep up with his studies, he would occasionally drop by before or after his shift to purchase the books he needed for the extremely demanding major of Political Science.  Now, dear readers, had your humble blogger sustained some injury while off the clock but inside the bookstore, should it have been compensable?

As far as this blogger is concerned, of course not!  Although, in all honesty, who knows how a starving college student might have seen things.  It appears that the applicant’s attorney in the case of Paul Gove (Dec’d), Sharon Gove (Widow) v. Miller Coors, LLC, would not agree.

Mr. Gove was scheduled to begin work at 2:30 in the afternoon on October 20, 2009, but appeared in his casual clothes and used the restroom facilities at his place of employ at 12:46p.m. that afternoon.  Co-workers heard a loud bang coming from the restroom, and Mr. Gove was discovered on the floor.  Medical staff was called to assist, but, unfortunately, Mr. Gove passed away roughly a month later.  The cause of death was originally ruled cardiorespiratory arrest and cerebrovascular accident, but was subsequently amended to reflect traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage.

With an off-duty employee in one hand, and no certain link to industrial activity in the other, the workers’ compensation Judge found that applicant had not carried her burden of proof that her husband had sustained an industrial injury arising out of or in the course of employment.   The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board and the Court of Appeal had to concur, and they did.

Unfortunately, there is not a lot of authority that comes with this case, as the WCAB denied reconsideration while simply adopting and incorporating the WCJ’s report, and the Court of Appeal merely denied applicant’s petition for a writ of review.

But in any case, it appears that merely being physically within the building where one normally works is not enough to trigger workers’ compensation liability.

And now, a little bit more about my alma mater…

Categories: Uncategorized
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