Workers' Compensation

A Little Bit of March Madness in September – A New Ruling from the DE IAB Regarding a Company Athletic Event

Props to Larry Kimmel of Kimmel, Carter, Roman & Peltz,  who rather sheepishly shared our case du jour.  He was embarrassed because he won and didn't want to appear like he was trying to call attention to himself.  Anyone who knows Larry knows that that is just not his way.  Thank you Larry for bringing an important ruling to our attention.

I bring you Calvin Williams v. Bank of America, IAB# 1367621 (9/23/11).

 This decision is important for two reasons:

#1  the cases which discuss company-related athletic events are few and far between;

#2  this decision, written by Hearing Officer Lydia Anderson, offers a cogent and concise overview of the law with a step-by-step analysis of how the facts of the case apply to the legal principles.

Bottom line?

The Board found this Bank of American 3-on-3 basketball game at The Boys and Girls Club to be in course and scope.


*       Claimant was asked by his supervisor several times if he was playing, raising the pressure to participate beyond the concept of a volunteer.

*       The employer worked it out so that the claimant could play during his normally assigned work shift with no requirement that he make up the time, a level of accommodation again bringing the claimant's involvement beyond that of a volunteer, and smacking of strong employer encouragement.

*       The employer was deemed to have derived a significant benefit from this event in the form of employee camaraderie, as well as an improved community and corporate image.

*       The Bank was involved in the event to the extent that is publicized the event, supplied refreshments at the event, and provided shirts to the players.

Notwithstanding the lack of a victory for the employer, according to Larry, his opponent John Marconi "did an excellent job" advancing arguments on behalf of Bank of America.  Hey, you win some, you lose some.  From my perspective, the most important thing is that I have another sporting event case to add to my collection.  Because after all, it's all about the case law......:>)

Irreverently yours,
Cassandra Roberts

Delaware Detour & Frolic   Visit Delaware Detour & Frolic, a law blog by Cassandra Roberts5

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