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Workers' Compensation

District of Columbia: Split-Shift Transit Manager’s Injuries Sustained During Unpaid Break Are Compensable

Injuries sustained by a transit authority manager when she tripped and fell on a transit authority escalator near an employee-only break room, during a two-hour unpaid break between her two scheduled shifts, arose out of the employment, held the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Accordingly, her claim for benefits should have been allowed. The employer contended that since the manager was on an unpaid break and free to go and come as she pleased, her injuries did not arise from the employment. The court disagreed. Quoting Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 21.02, the court acknowledged that compensation could be denied where an employee came to work unreasonably early or stayed unreasonably late at the workplace. Examining cases discussed in Larson, § 21.06, the court stressed that in the instant case, with the manager working two shifts, and desiring to eat her lunch between those shifts, it was reasonable for her to be at the workplace at the time of her injury. Her injuries were clearly compensable, said the court.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Gaines v. D.C. Dept. of Empl. Servs., 2019 D.C. App. LEXIS 246 (June 27, 2019)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 21.02.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see