Are Telecommuters Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?August 9, 2019
Workers’ Compensation benefits are available for any employee who has been injured while on the job. However, with more people working from home in recent years, some employers are faced with the challenge of determining whether an employee’s home qualifies as an official work site, and if telecommuters are eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Recently, Maryland’s Circuit Court ruled that one worker’s home qualified as an office and that he should be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits. The Court of Special Appeals vacated the decision and ordered a retrial. To come to a decision, justices outlined a three-part test to determine what constitutes a home-based office.
The plaintiff was a customer service representative for a Minnesota-based food company. One morning, before visiting several grocery stores to meet with the company’s delivery drivers and obtain inventory deliveries for each of his accounts, he planned to drop his son off at daycare. Unfortunately, when he stepped outside, he slipped on a sheet of black ice on the sidewalk in front of his home and injured his leg. He filed a Workers’ Compensation claim, but it was initially denied by the Workers’ Compensation Commission on the grounds that he was on a personal errand, so the injury did not arise in the course of employment.
Factors that Qualify a Home Office as a Work Site
The Circuit Court of Baltimore County concluded that the injury was work-related and that the plaintiff had been working in his home office before heading out to meet with customers. The food company appealed the decision, and the appellate court sent the case back. The justices examined cases from other jurisdictions to come up with a list of factors that would qualify a home office as a work site, including the following:
- How often the employee works from home and the quantity of work performed at home.
- The presence of equipment in the home that is used for work.
- Circumstances that make it necessary for the employee to work from home, and not simply because it is more convenient. It should also be clear whether the employer agreed to the employee’s home being used as an office.
If the court rules in favor of the plaintiff, it could have a significant impact on telecommuters, and whether they are eligible to collect Workers’ Compensation benefits. In addition to injuries suffered during a car accident, or any other work-related transportation, telecommuters may also be able to collect benefits for injuries that occur in their home if it is agreed upon that the employee’s residence qualifies as a home office.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Secure Maximum Benefits for Telecommuters
If you work from home and you were injured while on the job, you are urged to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. We will help determine whether your home office meets the requirements of being an official work site so that we can obtain the full financial benefits you deserve for your injuries. We will continue to fight for you until we have your complete satisfaction. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. Located in Baltimore, we serve clients throughout Maryland.