Alabama Q&A Board

Q&A Log - Alabama

Worker ' s Compensation

Injured While Watering Flowers
Question: An office employee asks if she can plant some flowers near the entry way to the company's office, is granted permission, and months later trips and injures her ankle while watering the plants during her morning break. Is it compensable?   -Trey W. 1/28/21


1. Based on the line "on her break" I would say this is not compensable. Unless tending the flowers was part of her role, watering flowers on her break would not meet the definition of 'arising out of the course of employment' and would not be compensable. However, this could change if she was told she could plant them 'provided she took care of them' or anything that could make this part of her employment. If the employer benefited from the task (the mutual benefit test) it could also be deemed compensable, that would have to be determined. Here is a source: https://labor.alabama.gov/wc/benefits.aspx Look at bullet point number 3. That is the justification for the response I provided. Though this is far from set in stone. -McKell S.1/29/21


2. I (am not a lawyer) believe that McKell is on target with the portion that if the employer told her she could plant if she took care of them as well as the issue of did the company benefit from this action. This is my comment on the question on LinkedIn: It would vary state to state (and two important caveats - I'm not a lawyer and I don't live in Alabama). But, one of the important things to consider in the question is the fact that the employer not only granted permission to plant flowers near the entry way but also allowed her to take on the task of watering the flowers over a period of months. This has essentially become a task of the person's workday, whether it is on their break or not. I think if it was the first time watering, it would have been different but this task seems to have the employer's nod of approval and the flowers at the door may be of benefit to the employer. -Quin B. 2/4/21
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