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No, Dorothy, Thinking About Work Is Not Compensable

Hello dear readers!

How far can you stretch that whole AOE/COE thing?  One time your humble blogger was having a nightmare and, after falling out of bed and hitting my knee pretty darn hard on some unreasonably aggressive furniture, I came into work and tried to file a claim.  My workers’ compensation defense attorney bosses were skeptical, to say the least, but my pitch was “hey – I was having a nightmare about workers’ comp.”

As believable as it was that the practice of workers’ compensation would cause nightmares, my bosses were still skeptical that such a claim could ever be considered compensable.  In short, there are limitations to the whole AOE/COE thing, and, as much as everything we do is tangentially related to work, once in a while common sense will rule the day.

So, consider if you will, the matter of Hollie v. Management Training Corp., in which the Court of Appeal recently denied applicant’s petition for a writ of review, and the WCAB affirmed the WCJ’s take-nothing finding.

Applicant sustained a knee injury way back when (2014 to pre precise – my, my how the time flies) while participating in a continuing education program which he thought necessary to maintain her medical license (which was a prerequisite of her job as a physician).

When the WCJ found that the injury did not arise out of or in the course of employment, applicant sought reconsideration arguing that the subjective believe that participating in the continuing education program was a prerequisite to his continued employment, should be sufficient to support a finding of compensability.

The WCAB denied reconsideration, noting that although the California required continuing education for applicant to keep his medical license current, the employer did not mandate any particular continuing education course or the one at which applicant was actually injured.  In fact, applicant attended the course on his own time without telling his employer about it, and was not even reimbursed for the course!

This makes perfect sense – there are lots of things we need to do to be able to keep doing our jobs.  Most of our jobs require us to be sleep to the point where we’ve rested enough to be alert and functional during the day.  Most of our jobs require us to eat enough so that we can be alert and functional during the day.  But nightmares and tummy aches compensable claims do not make.

What’s your war story, dear readers? How far have you seen AOE/COE stretched?

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