Employee Injury at a Company Retreat?
Employers often reward employees’ hard work with a company retreat or outing. In other cases, they may make mandatory work a little more fun by combining it with team building events and activities. No matter how careful everyone is, injuries occur at these events. Who’s liable? Is it the employer, the employee, the host, or someone else entirely?
If you’ve been injured at a company retreat and you’re not sure how to get the compensation you deserve, let’s talk. Call Weaver Tidmore at 205-980-6065 to set up a consultation today.
Is Attendance Mandatory or Recommended?
First, you’ll want to look at whether attendance was mandatory or voluntary. This doesn’t give you a cut-and-dry answer as to who is liable, but it is a good starting point. If retreat attendance was mandatory, the event would likely be considered part of the employee’s work duties. This would tilt the scales toward employer liability. If the event was voluntary, that takes a little bit of pressure off of the employer.
Consider the Extent of the Employer’s Involvement
Generally, the more heavily involved an employer is in a retreat, the more liability they have if someone is injured. Consider a standard company retreat. The company chooses a location, pays for it, pays for food, schedules events, and organizes employee involvement.
This level of involvement leaves the employer open to lawsuits if an employee gets injured. In this type of event, the employer would likely be at least partially liable even if they made attendance voluntary.
If the employer takes a more hands-off approach to the retreat, they may be shielded from liability to some degree. If it’s an event or retreat hosted by an outside party and your company simply signs employees up for it, liability may rest with the host of the event.
Consider, for example, a conference where employees from dozens of companies in the same field meet to listen to speakers and presenters. In this scenario, the employer may not be liable for subsequent injuries.
Revisit Company Protocols
Ideally, a company will be prepared for every possible scenario. If you get injured at a company retreat, it’s possible that your employee handbook or workplace protocols outline how this situation is to be handled. It may tell injured employees to file for workers’ compensation, or it may waive liability and tell employees to seek compensation from the property owner.
Note, though, that company policies can’t override the law. If every sign points to employer liability but company protocols claim to waive liability, that protocol may not hold up in court. If it’s clear that an employer hosted an event and made it mandatory, the court may still require them to pay compensation even if their protocols state otherwise.
Look for Additional Insurance Coverage
Just like a prepared company will address these situations in their protocols, a prepared employer should also have event insurance to cover employee injuries during a retreat. General liability insurance for an event allows injured employees to seek compensation without driving up the cost of workers’ compensation insurance, so it is an option that appeals to many employers.
As you can see, this is not a black-and-white situation. There is no clear-cut answer to “Who is responsible for injuries at an employee retreat?” It all comes down to the specific details, protocols, and details of each retreat. That’s why it’s so important to discuss your options with an attorney after an injury.
Your employer has a vested interest in limiting their financial fallout from an injury, and it’s likely that the place hosting the event expects your employer to pick up the tab for your injuries. When no one else has your best interests in mind, you need an attorney who will advocate for you. The team at Weaver Tidmore can investigate your injury, determine liability, and help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
Discuss Your Injury Claim with Weaver Tidmore
A workplace or work retreat injury can put you in an uncomfortable position with your employer. Consulting an attorney may allow you to take a more hands-off approach to your compensation and protect your relationship with your employer. Set up a consultation with our team now by calling us at 205-980-6065 or contacting us online.
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