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(c) 2016 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Intoxication, Work, And Workers' Compensation Don’t Mix

Today's post comes from guest author Paul J. McAndrew, Jr. from Paul McAndrew Law Firm of Iowa.
Most of us know that, for both professional reasons and in the interest of safety, remaining sober while on the job is essential. However, it is important to also recognize that workers who are intoxicated at the time that they sustain a work injury stand a far lower chance of ever collecting workers’ compensation.
If the blood test shows the presence of alcohol or drugs, odds that the employee will be able to collect workers’ compensation are much lower.
This is because of the intoxication defense: if an employer can prove that intoxication was the cause of the workers’ injury, then they employer is not required to provide workers’ comp for that injury. Now, there are some notable
exceptions. First of all, it’s not enough for a worker simply to have a high blood alcohol reading, or to have drugs in their system. The employer must be able to convince the workers’ compensation judge that the intoxication was a substantial factor in causing the injury.
If an employer can prove that intoxication was the cause of the workers’ injury, then they employer is not required to provide workers’ comp for that injury.
Secondly, if the worker’s intoxication results from activities that were in pursuit of the employer’s interests, or if the employer encouraged employees to drink, the intoxication defense does not apply. For example, if the employer provides alcohol at a work-related event like an office party, and the injury happens shortly thereafter, then the intoxication defense doesn’t apply. Another example would be an event where alcohol is a reimbursable expense, such as a sales dinner, or during work-related travel. All that said, if a properly administered drug-test indicates that the employee was intoxicated during the time of the work accident, the odds that they will be able to collect workers’ compensation are much lower.

Read more about "intoxication" and workers' compensation:

Sep 08, 2011
The New England Journal of Medicine reports that the activism against driving while intoxicated is beginning to be mirrored in distracted driving crashes. This parallel will probably cause workers' compensation courts and ...
Sep 25, 2012
The US Supreme Court has granted certiorari in a case that will have critical imposrtance to proof of intoxication defense in many workers' compensation claims. (Missouri v. McNeely) The issue is whether a law enforcement ...
Mar 31, 2011
Many states, including Wisconsin, hold that if an injury results from intoxication (by alcohol or drugs) benefits are not denied, but reduced (usually by 15%) as an employee safety violation, but intoxication is not evidence of a ...