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Workers' Compensation

Georgia: Divided High Court Says Injury During Unpaid Lunch Break Was Compensable

Reversing the state's Court of Appeals, which had affirmed the denial of workers' compensation benefits to an office worker who slipped and fell as she was exited the employer's break room where she had just microwaved her lunch, a divided Supreme Court of Georgia overruled Ocean Acc. & Guar. Corp. v. Farr, 180 Ga. 266 (178 SE 728) (1935), a decision that had stood for more than 85 years, holding that at the time of her injury, the worker was on her employer's premises, in the middle of the workday, and preparing to take an action necessary to sustain her comfort. Accordingly, her actions were incidental to her employment and not beyond the scope of compensability. Finding the reasoning in Farrunsound and “completely untethered from the analytical framework consistently employed by this Court in workers’ compensation cases for nearly a century” [Opinion, p. 14], the majority stressed that it made “little sense to say that a traveling employee who chooses to eat a meal rather than go to the beach during his free time is covered under the Act, but an ordinary employee who makes the same choice during a break is not” [Opinion, p. 22].

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 Frett v. State Farm Employee Workers’ Comp., 2020 Ga. LEXIS 458 (June 16, 2020)

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

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