Lottery Agent is Caught “Going And Coming”

A “Lottery agent*’ filed a workers’ compensation claim in an attempt to hit the compensation jackpot. As many of our own attempts to win the lottery have failed, so did the applicant’s attempt in this case fail.

The “lottery agent” carried the status of a peace officer. His job assignment included field work fifty percent of the time. He was provided a state-owned vehicle. The applicant was required to work after normal business hours, including weekends and holidays.

One morning, he was leaving his home and slipped on an icy sidewalk.  He was on his way to work, but had not entered his state-owned vehicle. He was injured and filed his claim. The State contended this injury did not arise out of the employment and was not in the course of employment.  “Ordinarily an employee cannot obtain workers’ compensation for an injury suffered while going to or coming from the workplace (the “going and coming” rule), because the employment relationship is deemed .  suspended from the time the employee leaves work until the time the employee resumes work”.

The court cited the numerous exceptions to the “going and coming” rule, including the exception for driving a company vehicle to work and being injured in that commute. “In every case where this exception has been held to apply, the employee was actually driving the employer-furnished vehicle when he or she sustained injury. To stretch this exception so far as to include cases such as the present case, would make it almost infinitely elastic. If an employee has already begun his commute in an employer-supplied vehicle when he steps of the door of his house, he might just as well be said to have begun it when he steps out of bed in the morning. Both conclusions are absurd, and the second is not more so than the first.”

The court analyzed the rationale for the “ employer-supplied vehicle” exception to the “going and coming rule”. They indicated that me “special mission” exception was equally inapplicable. The court did seem to imply that if an officer were wearing a uniform that may make a difference.  In this case the agent, was wearing a gun and a pager, but was not in uniform. They concluded that since the officer was not in uniform, he was not covered under another exception to the “going ‘ and coming” rule.

It is refreshing to see that the court is willing to draw a line where compensability can begin.

Case: State Lottery Commission V. W.C.A.B.

Harvey Brown
3501 Jamboree Rd. Suite 602
Newport Beach, CA 92660

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