Hurt sliding into second: Is the injury compensable?

When Maintenance Department Mechanic George Huff tried to stretch a line drive to right field into a double, he fractured his leg sliding into second base. When the hospital bill came through, Huff submitted a compensation claim.

10/01/1999


When Maintenance Department Mechanic George Huff tried to stretch a line drive to right field into a double, he fractured his leg sliding into second base. When the hospital bill came through, Huff submitted a compensation claim.

"You gotta be kidding," Maintenance Supervisor Harold Fossie replied. "The game was held at Parker Field; it's not even company property."

"That makes no difference," Huff persisted. "It was a company-sponsored event. The company paid for the team's equipment and uniforms, and for the use of the field."

Fossie shook his head. "That's true, but there is a limit to corporate generosity in supporting an employee event. The company might be liable if your injury took place on company property during working hours, but out on the field, no way."

Huff disagreed and took his case to Vince Merkle, a union delegate who argued with Fossie on his behalf.

"That ball game was officially sponsored by the company," he insisted. "Huff is entitled to compensation."

Fossie promised to discuss the case with his boss.

Question: In your opinion, should the worker be compensated?

Plant engineer's verdict: "Put Huff in for compensation," Plant Engineer Bob Mandel ruled after hearing the details of the incident. "The company encourages and funds the team. It's no great stretch to regard the game as an officially sponsored event. Some companies require company-sponsored teams to sign a form stating that participation in off-premises games is voluntary and injuries noncompensable. Since we failed to do so, I'm afraid we are stuck with the bill in this case."





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