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Voluntary Social/Recreational Activity (C13)

[Cross reference. Course and scope of employment (C00)].

Generally, an injury is not compensable if it arose out of voluntary participation in an off-duty recreational, social, or athletic activity that did not constitute part of the IE's work-related duties, unless the activity is a reasonable expectancy of or is expressly or impliedly required by the employer. TLC Section 406.032(1)(D). Such an injury is compensable if (1) participation in the activity is expressly or impliedly required by the employer; or (2) the employer derives some benefit from the activity, other than the health or morale of the IE; or (3) where the injury takes place at the place or immediate vicinity of employment while the IE is required to hold himself or herself in readiness for work, and the activity takes place with the employer's express or implied permission. Mersch v. Zurich Insurance Co., 781 S.W.2d 447 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 1989, writ den'd). If the IE establishes that any one of the above three factors was present at the time of the injury, the injury is compensable. APD 000062. Whether the IE's injury is compensable under one of the three factors is a question of fact for the ALJ to resolve. APD 971330.

Injury Found Compensable.

It is undisputed that the IE was injured while attending a mandatory company picnic. The injury occurred when the IE fell while playing volleyball. The IC asserted that while the IE's attendance at the picnic was mandatory, his participation in the volleyball game was not. The ALJ determined that the IE's injury is compensable because attendance at the picnic was mandatory. The ALJ declined to carve the picnic up into individual activities. Whether the IE was injured during a required social activity was a question of fact for the ALJ to resolve. APD 000621.

Injury Not Found Compensable.

The IE was injured at home while lifting a cooler of meat for the company picnic into her car. The IE testified that she felt she was required to participate in the preparation for the picnic. The IE felt the requirement was implied and that even though she had a choice of whether to participate, she felt to keep up good relations with her boss and to maintain company morale she really had no choice. The IE's boss testified that the IE's participation in the preparations was entirely voluntary. The ALJ determined that the injury is not compensable because it occurred while the IE was voluntarily participating in an off duty social activity. Whether the IE's participation in the preparations was voluntary or impliedly required was a question of fact for the ALJ to resolve. APD 971330.

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