Garrity v. Injured Worker’s Ins. Fund No. 1185, 2012 WL 414227
Appellant, who works as a bailiff at the District Court for Baltimore City, showed up to work wearing a Christmas tie. After spilling coffee on himself, the Appellant went home to change. That Appellant did not tell any of his supervisors that he was leaving, though it is customary to seek permission before leaving the courthouse. While away from the courthouse, he was in a car accident and in the hospital for one month.
Appellant filed for worker’s compensation with the Worker’s Compensation Commission. The Worker’s Compensation Commission awarded the Appellant compensation. The Appellees appealed to the trial court, where the trial court reversed the Worker’s Compensation Commission’s award.
Whether getting injured when coming back to work, because you where changing attire, would fall under a worker’s compensation going and coming rule exceptions?
Workers’ Compensation Law has the special mission exception. It kicks in when a special errand or trip is taken by the employee at the direction or request of an employer for the purpose of helping the employer’s business. The Court held that since nobody instructed appellant that he need to go home and change his shirt and tie it would not qualify under a special mission. There was nothing in the nature of his employment to suggest he would be allowed to leave.
The dual-purpose doctrine applies when an injury arises during a trip that serves both a business and personal purpose. In Garrity, the bailiff was not furthering the interests of his employer on his trip home. (Apparently, wearing a clean shirt is not of the utmost importance at the Baltimore City District Court.)
The Court held that since the bailiff’s supervisor did not know of the personal errand he ran and, therefore, the supervisor did not approve of the errand, and it was not furthering the course of business for the courthouse, the bailiff was not entitled to worker’s compensation.