Skip to main content

Course of Employment

COURSE OF EMPLOYMENT

As set forth inworkers' compensationacts, the time, place, and conditions under which an on-the-job accident occurs. The performance of an act that an employee might prudently do while in the appropriate area during working hours.

In the event that an employee causes an injury to another or another's property, it is necessary to ascertain whether the employee was acting within the course of employment. The employer is legally responsible for the damages if the employee caused them while performing a job. If a driver for a transportation firm is involved in an accident with a pedestrian, for example, the pedestrian can sue both the driver and the firm. Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, an employer can be held liable for a tort, a civil wrong other than breach of contract, committed by an employee operating within the scope of the employee's employment.

Workers' compensation laws require the payment of compensation from the employer to the employee in conformity with a schedule for a particular category of injury, provided that the employee is injured during the course of employment. The course of employment encompasses the actual period of employment and the period during which the employee, while on the employer's premises, prepares to commence or to depart from work, such as by changing clothes. Employer-sponsored recreational activities are also considered part of the course of employment when organized, encouraged, or supported by the employer for business purposes, such as the promotion of efficiency. The test is whether the recreation inured to the employee's exclusive benefit or whether the employer had some interest in the activity. Injuries suffered by an employee while observing, participating, or traveling to or from recreational activities sponsored in whole or in part by the employer but conducted on the employee's time and off the employer's premises are not compensable.

Where the recreational activity is part of the employee's compensation, an injury is compensable. If an employer, for business reasons, arranges and pays for an employee to join and participate in a social or athletic club, the employee's activities are an incident of the course of employment and an injury is, therefore, compensable.

The periods during which an employee prepares for work while at home or commutes to his or her place of business are not within the course of employment, and, therefore, are not covered by workers' compensation laws.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Course of Employment." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Course of Employment." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/law/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/course-employment

"Course of Employment." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/law/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/course-employment

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.