An employee event or party is a great way to build workplace relationships and have fun. But what happens if an employee gets injured at the event? Are they entitled to workers’ compensation benefits?
The short answer is that workers compensation can apply in these situations – but it depends on the circumstance.
Every state has its own criteria for what is compensable under workers’ compensation; however, some common guidelines should be considered when planning an employee event.
If alcohol will be served, consider drink tickets, hiring professionals to serve, limiting the length of time alcohol will be available, or other ways to reduce the chance of overindulgence. Make sure there is plenty of non-alcoholic beverages and food available.
In Iowa, the courts use the “business-related benefits test,” to determine whether the company received a “substantial direct benefit” from the injured employee’s participation in the event. Further, Iowa considers whether participation was mandatory/expected, and where and when the event was held.
It can be difficult to determine if an injury at a work event is covered by workers’ compensation, especially because case law differs by state. Talk to your workers’ compensation insurance professional for help.
Holding a company event can be a great way to promote a positive work culture, and can be lots of fun. Don’t cancel the party; just take the time to plan and prepare. Be safe, but also have fun!
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