While workers in Pennsylvania are generally all covered by the PA Workers’ Compensation Act (other than certain classes, such as Federal workers, some of those in the shipping industry, and others), not all are treated equally. There is a stark difference between “stationary” employees (who go to the same job location each day) and “travelling” employees (who do not). But, as we see in a recent decision of the Commonwealth Court, even the additional latitude of the travelling employee is not always enough.
In Peters v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Cintas Corporation), the employee was undisputedly a “traveling” employee. As a salesman, most of his time was spent out on the road, travelling to various accounts. One day, after working his full day out in the field, he came back toward his house, passed the exit for his house, and continued on to a bar, where he attended what the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania termed “a celebration with coworkers.” When he went home, after the “celebration,” he was injured in a car accident.
The employee (the “Claimant”) filed a Claim Petition, alleging his injury took place while in the scope and course of his employment. After litigating before the Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ), the Claim Petition was denied. The WCJ found that Claimant was not in the scope and course of his employment at the time of the injury. This decision was affirmed by the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (WCAB).