Being an Employee vs. Good Friend

Barkan Meizlish , May 13, 2015

Recently, an injured worker was denied the benefits of workers’ compensation, because the Court determined that the injury did not occur in the course of and arising out of her employment. In Power v. Bay Park Community Hosp., 2015 – Ohio – 1272, an employee was assisting a patient to her car, who was also a friend of hers. While leaving to go get the car, the employee’s coat became caught in the patient’s wheelchair, which caused the employee to fall and suffer a right proximal humerus fracture.

Because the employee had already clocked out when she went to assist the patient, the Court concluded the injuries were not sustained in the course of her employment (although within the zone of her employment). The rationale was that the employee was not under the direction of her employer when she went to get her friend, and as a result, the employer received no benefit from her doing so. Id. Thus, by not being on the clock, completing her usual tasks, or under the direction of her employer, the Court determined her injuries did not occur in the course of or arising out of her employment.

Had the employee gone to assist her friend at the direction of a supervisor, or had the employee never checked out, the outcome may be different. However, in this case, the employee’s attempt to be a good friend did not meet the standard to participate in workers’ compensation benefits.

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