Remember, Not Everything that Happens at Work is “Work-Related”
Kegler Brown E-mployment Alert March 21, 2013
A case recently decided by the 3rd District Court of Appeals should serve as a reminder that, just because an injury happens while an individual is at work, that does not make it compensable under Ohio Workers' Comp law.
Lindamarie Serraino worked at the Defiance Clinic. Serraino filed a workers' compensation claim after she contracted salmonella from a contaminated lunch served in the Clinic's break room. The Clinic had invited local caterers to sell food to employees of the Clinic, but, otherwise, it had very little involvement with or control over catering activities. The Clinic did not receive any portion of the caterers' sales. Further, anyone with access to the break room, including the general public, could purchase food from the caterers. The Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court that, as a matter of law, there was no significant causal connection between Serraino's salmonella poisoning and her employment with the Clinic to make her claim compensable.
Conclusion: Employers should bear this case in mind when confronted with an employee who files a workers' compensation claim after, for example, burning his/her hand taking a soup bowl out of the cafeteria microwave or tripping over his/her own feet in the parking lot.