HARRISBURG – The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania upheld a Workers’ Compensation appeal board's ruling awarding disability benefits and the reimbursement of medical expenses for a Wegmans Food Markets Inc. employee who fell in the store after she was finished working for the day, according to an Oct. 10 opinion.
The Commonwealth Court said claimant Geraldine Tress “(suffered injuries) when she fell on a slippery floor in employer’s supermarket where she worked.” Tress broke her arm and wrist in the fall. The ruling said the injuries required surgery and a four-day hospital stay and prevented Tress from returning to her job as a cashier in 2016.
Wegmans denied Tress’ disability claim in May 2016 because her injuries were not sustained while she was on the job. The Commonwealth Court disagreed.
“We conclude that claimant’s fall was in the course of her employment because it was caused by a condition of employer’s store and occurred only a few minutes after she clocked out of her work shift and while she was in the process of leaving the store,” Commonwealth Court Senior Judge James Gardner Colins wrote in the opinion.
Senior Judge James Gardner Colins PA Courts
The Commonwealth Court ruling said Tress fell “on a slippery spot on the floor” when she stopped after clocking out from her shift to pick up and pay for a hamburger she ordered from the store’s “pub” department. Tress said she was planning to leave the store after picking up her sandwich.
“Claimant was not required by (Wegmans) to be in the place that she slipped at the time of her fall because she had clocked out for the day,” the opinion said, “but the fall was in an area of the store that claimant passed through when she was required to clock out at the end of her shift.”
Although there is a door near the time clock that employees may use to enter and leave the store, the court said “employees are not required to use that entrance and may leave work through other store entrances, including two main door entrances and an entrance near the pub and café.”