When an employee is injured on the job, one of the first determinations that is made in a hearing to obtain workers’ compensation benefits is whether or not the employee was acting within the “scope of employment.”
A common question arises when an employee is not actually on the job site, but traveling to and from the location. What if an employee is running an errand for the employer and it consists of picking up supplies that will eventually be used to produce the company’s product? Would that be considered on the job? The Ohio Court of Appeals says probably.
The Ohio Court of Appeals ruled in a case called Carter v. R&B Pizza Co., Inc. that an employee who was picking up pizza sauce, pepperoni, flour and other supplies used in the production of a pizza was working within the “scope of employment” to allow for workers’ compensation benefits.
The employee had gone on a routine errand that occurred twice a week to pick up supplies. She had been riding with her husband, the owner of the restaurant, and on their return trip, they were struck by a drunk driver. The worker had been driving directly to the restaurant because the food required immediate refrigeration.
This case allows us to answer our earlier question with a “possibly.” Of course, each situation has facts that could alter a court’s decision, making it even more imperative for someone injured in a similar situation to seek the assistance of an experienced attorney who can help navigate what can be a complicated process to tackle on your own.
Source: Risk & Insurance, “Transporting pizza supplies proves acting within scope of employment”, 1/17/11