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Chaperone Entitled to Workers Comp, Says Massachusetts High Court

December 14, 2009
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Related Topics: Workers' Compensation, Benefit Design and Communication, Health and Wellness, Compensation, Latest News
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A high school mathematics teacher is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for an injury she suffered while serving as a chaperone for the school’s ski club, Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court ruled Friday, December 11.

The teacher’s employer, the self-insured city of Peabody, Massachusetts, sought to deny medical benefits for a 2004 shoulder injury, arguing it occurred while the teacher voluntarily participated in a recreational activity, court records in Karen Sikorski’s Case show.

The high court’s ruling upheld a Department of Industrial Accidents finding that the recreational aspect of serving as a chaperone was incidental to the teacher’s duties of monitoring student safety.

“We affirm the [DIA] decision because we conclude that a teacher who acts as a chaperone to students participating in a school-sponsored activity is acting in the course of her employment and is not engaged in ‘recreational’ activity,” the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled.

Filed by Roberto Ceniceros of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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