In the Course and Scope of Employment
In order for an employee to be covered under Louisiana workers compensation, the employee's accident must “arise out of employment” and occur “in the course of employment.”
The phrase “scope” of employment" is a simpler way of saying “arising out of the employment.” Thus, instead of “arising out of" and “in the course of” employment,” it is often said that in workers compensation, the employee's accident must simply occur in the “course and scope of employment.”
The "scope of the employment" (or “arising out of employment”) relates to the character or origin of the injury suffered by the employee and whether this injury was connected to the employment.
This simply means that the workers compensation injury will not be covered unless it is related to the employment.
Also, an injury occurs in the scope of the employment if the risk from which the injury resulted was greater for the employee than for a person not engaged in the employment.
The “course of employment” means that the employee sustained an injury while actively engaged in the performance of his duties during work hours, either on the employer's premises or at other places where employment activities take the employee. Thus, the important questions for the course of employment are:
- When did the accident happen?
- Where did did the accident happen?
- What was the employee doing when the accident happened?
Basically, if the employee suffered an accident during work hours, or while actually doing his or her job, or at the employee's place of employment, then in all likelihood, the employee will be covered by workers compensation.
In the Course of Employment
So again, if the employee suffers an accident during work hours, or while actually doing the duties of his or her job, or while at the employee's place of employment, then the employee will be covered by workers compensation, because the employee is clearly within the course of employment.
But whether the employee is in the course of employment is not always so clear. For example, what if the employee:
- Is injured traveling to or from work?
- Is injured at at dangerous place adjacent to the employer's premises?
- Is injured while using the employer's transportation?
- Is injured while moving between places of work?
- Is injured while traveling for work?
- Is injured on the employer's premises before or after working hours?
- Is injured during an authorized lunch hour or rest period?
- Is injured while standing by or doing recreational activities?
- Is performing personal errands for the employer?
- Is injured during an emergency or attempted rescue?
- Is injured while while violating instructions?
- Is injured while involved in horseplay or an assault, or a personal dispute?
Generally speaking, the employee is considered to be in the course of employment for a reasonable time both before and after work hours.
If the employer requires the employee to participate in an activity outside of work hours or away from the employer's premises, then the employee will be considered in the course of employment.
Or if the employer derives substantial, direct benefit from an employee's activity, then employee will be considered in the course of employment.
Also, accidents occurring either going to work from home or vice versa generally are not covered by workers compensation. But travel in between places of work is covered by Louisiana workers compensation.
In short, many of these questionable scenario regarding the course of employment contain factual questions that need to be determined on a case-by-case basis.
But Louisiana law has provided general rules and guidelines and laws in order to answer these specific questions regarding particular course of employment scenarios.