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Lunchtime injury qualifies for workers’ comp benefits

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Employees injured on site during breaks are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Recent case: Cynthia worked as a customer service representative for Verizon Wireless. She was required to take a one-hour unpaid lunch period every day. Verizon allowed employees to stroll through the building for exercise during their breaks.

While Cynthia was walking one day during her break, she slipped on ice chunks that had fallen from a soda machine in a hallway. She hurt her knee, aggravating an old injury. She filed for workers’ compensation.

Verizon argued that she wasn’t working at the time she fell. The court said that didn’t matter. She was taking a required lunch break, walking in an area where she was encouraged to walk and fell. That made her eligible. (Mintz v. Verizon Wireless, No. COA12-306, Court of Appeals of North Carolina, 2012)

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