Though the phrase “scope and course of employment” does not appear anywhere in the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, this is a frequent issue involved with appellate cases. After all, a work injury is only compensable if one was performing his or her job at the time of the injury. This issue often depends on the particular facts of each case. A recent decision by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania continues this concept.
In Rana v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Asha Corporation), the injured worker (“Claimant”) was a manager-in-training for a Dunkin Donuts franchisee. The franchisee owned locations in Wyncote, Horsham, and Hatfield. Claimant primarily worked as a manager at the Wyncote location, but would be expected to travel to the other locations occasionally for operational issues. One night, after Claimant finished his regular shift at the Wyncote store, Claimant’s boss called him at home at 10:00 pm, and said an employee at the Hatfield location had a medical issue. Claimant told his boss he would go in and see what was happening. While heading to the location, Claimant was in a motor vehicle accident, and unfortunately was fatally injured.
A Fatal Claim Petition was filed by Claimant’s parents, who were dependent upon him. After hearing the evidence, the Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) granted the Fatal Claim Petition, finding that Claimant “was furthering Employer’s business and was on a special assignment for Employer. Thus, Decedent was in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident and Claimants were entitled to collect compensation.”