Injury during soccer practice found to be ‘in the course of employment’

[2002] O.W.S.I.A.T.D. No. 393, Decision No. 1234/00

The worker, a police constable, suffered a serious knee injury while practising with the police association’s women’s soccer team. She was on a paid double lunch period, which had been approved by the employer, at the time of the injury.

An appeals resolution officer found the worker was not in the course of her employment when she was injured and, therefore, not entitled to either lost time or healthcare benefits. The worker appealed. The worker had returned from maternity leave six months prior to the accident. It was her evidence that she had been advised shortly after her return that she was overweight and was encouraged to lose weight.

As a result, she joined a fitness program and joined the police women’s soccer team as she felt such activity would help her get back into shape.

On the evening in question, the worker was on the night shift which ran from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. the following day. She asked the permission of her sergeant to take a double lunch during the evening to attend practice and permission was given. She advised the sergeant where she would be and he allegedly stated, “I know where you are if I need you.”

The appeals tribunal found that, as the worker was involved in an activity that was known to the employer, approved by the employer, encouraged by the employer and of benefit to the employer, therefore the employee was engaged in the performance of a work-related duty or in an activity reasonably incidental to her employment. She was held to be entitled to remuneration for lost time and healthcare benefits.

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