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September 16, 2010

Collecting a paycheck could be a work related activity

Collecting a paycheck could be a work related activity
Dandola v Workers' Compensation Board, App Div, 244 AD2d 729

William Dandola, a New York City Corrections Officer, slipped and fell, injuring his knee. According to the decision, Dandola fell in front of the Rikers Island correction facility while running to pick up his paycheck on his day off. Did Dandola suffer a work related injury entitling him to workers' compensation benefits? Yes, said the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board in a decision affirmed by the Appellate Division.

Although the City Department of Correction argued that Dandola's injury occurred while he was engaged in "an essentially personal errand on his day off," the Appellate Division said that it has been held that "an employee may be within the scope of employment when collecting his or her pay check while off duty." In this instance, the Court decided that Dandola was injured in the course of his employment.

Why? Because, the Court explained, Correction's "paycheck distribution procedures" indicate that although arrangements to mail an employee's paycheck to his or her residence can be made, the expected procedure is for employees to pick up their paycheck in person. According, said the Court, the Appeals Board's holding that Dandola's injury arose out of and in the course of his employment is supported by substantial evidence.
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