Teacher Hurt on School Trip Entitled to Workers’ Comp
A teacher hurt while accompanying students to an honor society conference is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits because her injury was work-related, Kentucky’s Supreme Court has ruled.
The teacher broke her shoulder in four places after slipping and falling on bleachers while attending the conference in 2003, according to court records in Clark County Board of Education v. Audeen Jacobs.
School administrators had given Jacobs permission to start a local honor society chapter and her school’s principal provided permission to attend the state convention.
An administrative law judge, a workers’ comp board and an appeals court all agreed she was entitled to benefits because she was providing her employer with a service by accompanying the students.
But the school board argued before the high court that her claim was not employment-related because she was not compelled to form the honor society chapter and she was not providing a specific benefit to her employer when she was injured. The board argued her service provided only a “vague and general benefit.”
The high court disagreed. It said in its February 19 ruling that her injury occurred within the scope of her employment because “the record permitted reasonable inferences the school board encouraged” her honor society activity. She was also allowed to accompany the students during normal working hours without deducting vacation or sick time.