Television Presenter, Maryanne Demasi, fell and broke her hip during a 9:30am break to go for a jog on a day she was working from home earlier this year.

Her claim was rejected. Her employment was not substantially connected to her injury because her break to exercise at 9:30am was not an “ordinary” break, eg, a lunch break.*

* Demasi v Comcare (Compensation) [2016] AATA 644 (26 August 2016)

 

Maryanne Demasi is the ABC’s Catalyst program presenter

What is a Workplace?

Most of us have worked, or dreamed of working from home at some point. Advances in technology mean that more and more people are able to work from home. But how has this trend changed the definition of “workplace”?

Employers have an obligation to keep workplaces safe. Managing risks of danger when a worker is at home opens up a can of worms.

Employers may be responsible for injuries that occur whilst the worker is working from home, where the employer can’t really control the workers’ actions.

Injuries whilst working from home

If a worker is injured whilst at work, or whilst working from home, he or she can make a claim for workers compensation.

Sometimes the cause of injury is seemingly unconnected to the employment. For example, a worker working from home who trips and falls down the stairs while going to make a cup of tea.

As long as there is a substantial connection between the cause of injury and the employment, there is scope for such a claim.

Beyond the scope

Some claims have been clearly beyond this scope because there are some injuries Comcare will not protect you from.

In Comcare v PVYW [2013] HCA 41, an employee went on an overnight work trip and injured herself during sexual intercourse.

The Court denied her claim as the sexual activity that caused the injury was not conduct encouraged by her employer, and not connected to her employment.

Conclusion

While workers should be mindful of activities they are engaging in during breaks and whilst working from home, employers still need to adequately protect and compensate workers for injuries. It is important to balance the worker’s right to flexible and safe working arrangements with the employer’s obligations to manage health and safety risks.

If this balance can be found, the flexibility has been shown to be positive for both employers and workers as workers are happier, more productive and less likely to leave their jobs.

Bay Legal’s team of excellent solicitors are experienced in all Workers Compensation and Personal Injury claims and advocating for you in all NSW Tribunals and Courts.

If you have a claim you would like to discuss please contact Thao now on (02) 9344 0682 to make an appointment.

Your referral is our greatest compliment!