Our clients often talk to us about wanting to have company events outside the office, but they are concerned about being held liable if someone gets hurt. The key to remember in order to avoid workers comp liability is to make sure the event is truly voluntary. Normally, employee injuries aren't compensable under Kansas workers' comp law if they happened while the employee was "engaged in [work-related] recreational or social events." However, one Kansas employer was recently on the hook because the court found the "voluntary" event wasn't truly voluntary for their employees. The employee who was injured had two options: either go to the event, or stay at work. And, there was pressure on employees to attend the event. When company events are not mandatory, and the employee can choose to stay home if they want, your company should not have to worry about workers' comp claims should an employee become injured at the event. Remember, workers' compensation isn't the only thing you need to worry about when hosting a work event, especially if you will be serving alcohol. Be sure to take a few extra minutes while planning the event to contact OutrightHR to minimize all potential liability.
Holiday season is fast approaching. Be sure you're prepared!