Company retreats are often the highlight of the year. Employees work hard all year long to crush goals and accomplish as much as possible, and their retreat is the reward they get. But between the meetings and the happy hours, accidents sometimes happen. When they do, who is liable for the employee’s injuries?
If you’ve been hurt at work or a work event, it’s important to learn more about your rights and figure out your next step with an attorney. Thiry & Caddell can help. Schedule a meeting now by calling us at 251-351-3371.
Mandatory and Voluntary Events
Unfortunately, there is no hard-and-fast rule as to whether or not employers are responsible for injuries that occur at a company retreat. Because of this, each case has to be handled on an individual basis. There are a number of factors to look at, one of which is whether the retreat was mandatory or voluntary.
If a retreat is mandatory, it is likely that the employee’s injuries would be covered by workers’ compensation. Mandatory events are considered part of an employee’s work tasks, and any subsequent injuries would be considered on-the-job injuries.
If a retreat is voluntary, it may or may not be covered by workers’ compensation. If the employee spent time on work tasks during the retreat, they could still receive workers’ compensation. If the repeat was entirely for leisure, it is less likely that the workplace will have any liability.
Additional Coverage for the Event
This question might be avoided completely if there is extra liability insurance for the event. Some retreat centers require hosts to purchase additional liability insurance to cover injuries and other expenses. In this situation, the injured employee would likely be able to seek compensation from that fund.
Specific Company Policies and Waivers
A lot depends on the policies and procedures of the specific company. Some companies foresee these issues and address them ahead of time by making attendees sign liability waivers. Some have policies that explicitly state that retreat injuries are or are not the responsibility of the company. Small companies that have not run into these issues before are less likely to have detailed policies for these situations.
The Extent of the Employer’s Involvement
A big factor in this question is how much the employer was involved in the planning and running of the event. This relates to the funding, location, and organization of the event. As a general rule, the more involved an employer is, the more likely it is that any injured employees will be covered under workers’ compensation.
When you look into the details of the event, who funded it? If the company paid for it, they do have an obligation to employees to keep them safe. That may include limiting alcohol consumption, choosing safe activities, or investing in extra liability insurance. If the retreat is not paid for by the company itself, they may have less liability.
The location of the event is another important factor. If a retreat is held onsite, the employer is very likely to have some liability in any injuries that occur. Offsite events are less risky for employers, as the facility hosting the event has an obligation to provide a safe environment and keep attendees safe.
Finally, who organized the event? If your company’s party planning committee went all in on this event and are responsible for every part of it, that could be bad news for the company if someone gets injured. If the company was largely hands-off during the planning of the event and activities were left up to individual attendees, attendees could be responsible for their own injuries.
Although there are no clear-cut rules regarding work retreat injuries, you can use these guidelines to figure out if you do or do not have a case for workers’ compensation. If you are still unsure about your rights and options, set aside some time to talk to our team.
Get Help with Your Workplace Injury from Thiry & Caddell
If you’ve been hurt at work or while attending a company event, you may be entitled to compensation. Get more information by scheduling a meeting with our team. Give us a call at 251-351-3371 or to get started.