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Workers' Compensation

North Carolina: Court Construes "Traveling Employee" Rule Narrowly

A North Carolina appellate court, construing the "traveling employee" rule more narrowly than in most states, affirmed a finding by the state's Industrial Commission that denied benefits to an employee who sustained injuries in a slip and fall accident in a California hotel lobby, as the employee was on his way to do personal laundry. The appellate court skirted closely to allocating fault to the injured employee, noting that just prior to the incident, he had visited with co-workers on the hotel patio and had consumed alcohol. It agreed with the Commission that doing personal laundry was not a necessary activity for a traveling employee, The court indicated that the course and scope of the employment for a traveling employee was broad, but also said the activity needed to further the business of the employer to be deemed as work-related. To the extent that the decision stands, it would indicate that North Carolina's protection for traveling employee is much more narrow than the majority rule.

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 McSwain v. Industrial Commercial Sales & Serv., LLC, 2020 N.C. App. LEXIS 250 (Apr. 7, 2020)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 25.02.

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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