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March 02, 2001
Case Reveals Blurred Line Between On- and Off-The-Job
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an employee is at work when the employer is not open for business and gets injured, is the employee eligible for workers compensation? If the employee is at work but not working, is he eligible? When exactly are you on the job, and when are you off?

These are questions surfacing from a lawsuit between a former handyman and the workers compensation insurance company that has been appealing his claims for almost nine years, as reported in the New York Times this week. The case displays a gray area when it comes to employers' understanding of their responsibilities toward workers when many of them feel pressed to be on call around the clock.

Frank Rick was shot by two teenage assailants one Saturday morning at an apartment building where he worked as a maintenance employee. The attack cost Rick the use of his right arm, the story reported.

However, the business at which he was working was closed on Saturdays. Rick says his supervisor told him the day before a dumpster that was supposed to be delivered on Friday would not arrive until Saturday morning. Rick went to work on Saturday to make sure the dumpster was left in the correct location, and while he was there, he was attacked.

Rick's employer and its insurer contend Rick was there voluntarily, not for work. Sure, his company was closed, he says, but wasn't this work?

Rick has finally begun to receive payments from the insurance company, but they are still in dispute over how much he should be awarded.

Click here to read the complete story. (Registration may be required.)

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