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Liability for injuries suffered on break

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in Human Resources

Q. We let employees take short breaks to smoke outside or even have a chiropractic adjustment at the clinic next door. Employees are on the clock. Could we be responsible for their health problems related to smoking or injury from spinal adjustments? Should we just require paid breaks be taken indoors? — H.R, Missouri

A. If employees choose to smoke on their breaks, they may not sue the company if they develop cancer or another smoking-related illness. Likewise, if an employee chooses to visit a chiropractor and is injured while undergoing treatment, the employer will not be liable. This will be true unless there are other exceptional facts, i.e., if your organization pays for and/or otherwise encourages the chiropractic treatment.  

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