Employee Injured at Work Retreat Entitled to Benefits

September 25, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The Arkansas Court of Appeals has determined that an employee who was injured during a mandatory company retreat is entitled to workers' compensation benefits.

In reversing the state Workers’ Compensation Commission’s decision, the court pointed out in its opinion that the retreat was mandated by the employer and employees were paid for their attendance. In addition the court said, “The purpose of the offsite meeting was for employees to bond, refresh, set new goals, and have fun. As long as the participants were advancing the purpose of the meeting, they were furthering the interest of their employer.”

Tina Engle had sustained injuries when she attempted to jump into a lake from a cliff and hit protruding rocks. The Commission had determined the accident did not occur during the course of employment since she had chosen to jump from the cliff herself and was not directed to do so by her employer.

However the appellate court said the evidence showed Engle was engaging in activity permitted and anticipated by her employer. The case was remanded to a lower court for a decision on benefits.

The case in Engle v. Thompson Murray Inc. and Continental Casualty Co. is here .