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DBH Lawyers

- 22 Feb 2017
  • Personal Injury

Can I make a workers compensation claim if I hurt myself whilst socialising with clients?

Now that we are well into 2017, the influx of calendar invitations to events has begun and being invited to activities such as golf days, long lunches and sporting events is a perk often enjoyed throughout the year in the name of “networking”.

But what happens if you hurt yourself in the course of socialising with clients or other business associates?  Even though you think that you are building or maintaining business relationships, does your boss expect you to attend such events and does it form part of your employment?

The recent South Australian Employment Tribunal decision of Moretta v Return To Work SA has dealt with this issue.

In that case, Mr Moretta (an Asset Manager at Bendigo and Adelaide Bank) was invited by a client to attend an elite pre-game hospitality package and an AFL match Adelaide Oval.  Mr Moretta sustained injuries to his left leg, left foot and lower back when he slipped and fell whilst enjoying pre-match hospitality.

Mr Moretta lodged a workers compensation claim which was rejected on the basis that the injuries did not arise from employment.

Mr Moretta asserted that his attendance at the function was part of his employment, and in particular, the network development requirements of his role.  Mr Morretta asserted that it was “to maintain and promote relationships with the service provider”.

After considering a breadth of evidence including Mr Moretta’s evidence and his position (including position description document) at the bank, previous examples of the ways Mr Moretta had networked and the nature of the invitation to the event at Adelaide Oval, Deputy President Dolphin held that Mr Moretta’s attendance at the pre-game dinner and football game did not form part of his employment and therefore, his injuries were not compensable for the purposes of workers compensation.

Each case is different, and a number of facts need to be considered before determining whether an injury arose from employment.

So if you injure yourself whilst attending any networking or social activity that is linked to your employment, call DBH Lawyers today 1800 324 324 or send us a message for advice in relation to whether you are entitled to workers compensation.