Can an Employee Receive Workers’ Compensation for Company Holiday Party Injuries?

Many employers choose to host holiday parties for their employees as a way to reward their efforts throughout the year.  The kinds of celebrations an employer chooses to host can vary.  Sometimes the parties are held at an off-site location.  They may also be held at the place of employment.  The party may be held either during company hours, or afterward.  Depending on the circumstances surrounding the party, employers may incur liability in a number of ways.

Some employers are concerned with the liabilities associated with hosting a company party at which alcohol is served.  For example, an employer may ultimately be responsible for any injuries that occur to an employee that could result in Workers’ Compensation claims.  A common scenario from which holiday party injuries can arise are slip and falls due to spills or intoxication.

An employee may be able to receive Workers’ Compensation for injuries incurred during the scope of their employment.  Therefore, if holiday party attendance is required of employees, and any business is being conducted during the party (such as speeches about matters pertaining to the company’s business, or awards being distributed), an employee may be able to successfully argue that the party was part of their work responsibilities.  Additionally, if the party was held at the location of the company, an employee may reasonably believe that the party was in conjunction with work.

You may not be able to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits for an injury if your employer specifically states that participation in the festivities is optional, and the event is hosted off-site outside of the company’s business hours.  Additionally, if you are not expected to perform any tasks at the party that benefit your employer, the party likely falls outside the scope of your employment.

If you have been injured at a holiday party hosted by your employer and think you may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation, contact an attorney who is experienced in that field.  The attorneys at McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson & Riordan, LLP have experience representing clients before Workers’ Compensation boards throughout New York City and Long Island, including Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Nassau County, and Suffolk County.  For a consultation, call (866)557-7500.