Many companies host holiday parties as a way to celebrate their successes over the past year, look toward the upcoming year, thank employees for their hard work and boost company morale. This may be an event you look forward to all year, but what happens when you are injured during the party? Who is responsible for costs that arise from that injury?
All employers in the state of Florida who have more than four employees must provide worker’s compensation coverage for those employees. The coverage is designed to provide compensation for any injuries sustained in the course of employment. Under the statute, recreational and social activities are not considered the normal course of employment unless attendance at the event is required as part of the employment and provides a direct benefit to the employer beyond employee health and morale.
An employer may require an employee to attend a holiday party for many reasons. Upper-level management may be required to attend in order to boost employee morale among subordinates. Clients may also be invited to the gathering and employees may be expected to socialize with them in order to improve business. In both cases, the employees required to attend the party are providing a direct benefit to the employer. Even though upper-management is boosting morale, it is the morale of other employees, not themselves, and so constitutes a benefit to their employer.
If an injury occurred because the employee was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the employer is not responsible for any injuries that occur, even if the employee was required to attend the party as one of their job duties or if the event was held on company premises. The employer is also not responsible if the injury occurred as a willful act. An employer can require a drug or alcohol test be performed if they suspect the injury was due to intoxication. Even if the injury was not the result of the employee’s intoxication, if their blood alcohol content or drug test indicates intoxication, the employer is not required to cover their injuries.
Call Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins, P.A. to Find Out How We Can Help
If you or a loved one was injured at a company holiday party you were required to attend, contact Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins, P.A. to learn what rights you may have. Contact us through our simple online form or give us a call to arrange a consultation regarding your possible personal injury case.