In all workers compensation claims, an injured worker must show that his or her injury occurred ‘within the course of’ and ‘arising out of’ his employment to be compensable. This is also true for the many Americans that work from home.
An injury in the home setting, where there are no witnesses to the injury, no supervision, and little or no control over the home environment sometimes raises issues for employers and employees alike when trying to settle a workers’ compensation claim.
Specifically showing that an injury was in the course of employment while working from home can sometimes present a problem for an injured worker and, of course, employers are vulnerable to claims that may not fall within the definition of compensable injuries.
Employers and employees can protect their interests by taking steps to clarify in writing what work is to be done, the location where the job duties will be performed, and setting specific work hours including when lunch and breaks will be taken. Taking the time to go over the schedule, duties and location of employment reduces gray areas if someone gets hurt.
As telecommuting increases, so will the uncertainty surrounding accidents that occur at home. Thorough consideration of the employment arrangement will not only position employers to defend against unwarranted workers compensation claims, but, equally important, thoughtful planning will help workers prove that their injuries are compensable when working from home.