The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled today that a worker who shattered two bones in his leg during a company team-building kickball event should get workers’ compensation.
Workers’ comp commissioners in the state had denied his claim at first, as participating in such things is voluntary. An appeals court upheld that ruling, reports the Associated Press, which brought it to the state Supreme Court.
While it’s an employee’s choice to be on a company team and they can show up or not, the court said in ruling for the employee, in this case the worker had worked with his boss to organize the event. Because he was in charge, the game became part of his job — he basically had to be there.
As justices noted, the man’s boss said he would’ve been “surprised and shocked” if he hadn’t showed.
“Although the event may have been voluntary for company employees generally, the undisputed facts unequivocally indicate [the worker] was expected to attend as part of his professional duties,” the court wrote.
Dissenting justices wrote, however, that even though he would’ve had to be there, there’s nothing that said he was required to play.
State court: Workers’ comp OK for kickball injury [The Associated Press]