Is an employer liable for employee injuries at a company retreat?

Employees and employers alike should be aware that if an employee sustains an injury at a company-sponsored event and workers’ compensation laws are triggered, the business may be held accountable.  

Retreats that are sponsored by the firm might be very advantageous to the business. They may raise morale, maintain a relationship between the business and employees, and promote teamwork among employees. They can also be a fun-filled “thank you” to employees for a job well done.

But what if one of these enjoyable vacations results in an employee injury? Injuries sustained by employees while performing work-related duties are covered under workers’ compensation.

The following factors should be taken into account even if there are no explicit rules regarding whether or not an individual is eligible for workers’ compensation if they were hurt while on a retreat organised by the company:

Is the company-sponsored retreat mandatory to an employee’s job

In many places, whether or not participation at a company-sponsored retreat is required or optional affects an employer’s responsibility. According to several courts, if a business forces an employee to take part in a company function off-site, it qualifies as work-related and subjects the employer to workers’ compensation regulations.

The courts determined that the harm did not result from or occur during work. The Christmas party was “voluntary,” which in this case absolved the employer of responsibility and was significant to the argument. Making a company-sponsored event voluntary is a useful first step in eliminating liability from an employer, but it is not a panacea in all places because workers’ compensation regulations vary from state to state.

How involved is the employer

The problem of the employer’s participation in the retreat itself is in addition to the one of compelling an employee to attend a company-sponsored retreat.

A company’s responsibility for wounded workers may vary depending on factors including whether it contributed significantly to the cost of the event and if the attendees saw it as a perk of their job. How much was the employer involved? Did the president present the organisation with a motivating speech, present prizes, or set new objectives?

This might have an impact on a workers’ compensation claim if an employee is hurt there.

Is there a written policy describing the handling of off-site, company-sponsored retreats

Numerous businesses are implementing official, written rules on how to handle outside activities as a result of the increase in company-sponsored retreats.

This covers things like how employees are compensated for the excursion and whether or not a worker will have to utilise vacation or sick time if they decide not to go. Additionally, companies are educating supervisors on all policies to ensure that a unified message is sent across the whole organisation.

Companies can also demand that workers and, if relevant, their visitors sign a release releasing the company from responsibility. Before filing a workers’ compensation claim, employees should be aware of any stated restrictions.

Is there additional insurance coverage

Employees may also find out if the company is listed as an extra insured on the retreat venue’s insurance policy for the day(s) of the event, and if their employer’s liability insurance coverage includes off-site activities.

Liability on a case-by-case basis

Workers’ compensation claims may be made by employees hurt while participating in corporate activities, whether they do so on the grounds of their place of employment or not.

A company’s obligation for workers’ compensation and other associated concerns may be reduced by hosting an offsite retreat and making participation voluntary, although many circumstances are handled on a case-by-case basis.