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No workers’ comp for sloppy-drunk employee

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

A worker who drank himself silly at work, fell and hit his head has lost his workers’ compensation claim.

Recent case: Gary, a longshoreman, drank two beers before beginning his 8 a.m. shift and continued drinking another eight bottles and a half-pint of whiskey before his shift was over. Shortly before the end of his day, he tripped over a rail and fell six feet to a concrete ledge. He hurt his head and filed for workers’ compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

The court refused to authorize compensation because his intoxication was the “sole legal cause” of his injury. The court went as far as to say that what he hit his head on was irrelevant given his alcohol intake that day. (Schwirse v. Director, Office of Workers’ Comp. Programs, No. 11-73172, 9th Cir., 2013)

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