If one of your employees was injured in an exercise class, you wouldn’t expect that to be covered by workers’ comp. But that’s not how one court saw it.
Frank Torre worked for Logic Technology, a company that performed on-site contracting work for General Electric.
Torre suffered a spinal cord injury while participating in an exercise class at the G.E. fitness center during work hours.
A workers’ comp law judge ruled that his injury arose out of and in the course of his employment.
Torre was off duty when he took the class and wasn’t compensated for nor required to take it.
So to receive workers’ comp, he’d have to prove that his employer sponsored the activity, which required “an affirmative act or overt encouragement by the employer to participate.”
It turns out Torre was encouraged by his employer to have a gym membership. Logic Technology offers reimbursement to its employees for half of their G.E. fitness center membership fees. But in this case, Torre didn’t even seek reimbursement for the membership.
Another factor: Torre’s job required him to develop contacts with current and prospective clients, and the company president stated that participating in the fitness class helped do that.
Not only did the comp board rule in his favor, but on appeal, the Supreme Court of New York did also.
Do you agree with the court’s decision? Since Torre was encouraged to make business contacts at the gym, did that make his workouts part of his job? Let us know what you think in the Comments Box below.
Cite: Torre v. Logic Technology, Inc., Supreme Court, New York, No. 506423, 7/2/09. (PDF)