Injuries in the Office Over the Holidays

While the holidays can be one of the most joyous times of the year, they can also be one of the most perilous. This is especially true at the office where everything gets hectic and there are more opportunities for employer holiday injuries to occur. 

Is your employer responsible if you’re injured in a holiday-related event, as opposed to your normal work duties?

Here are a few situations (unique to this time of year) where we discuss employer liability and how to best protect yourself against workplace injury:

Who’s responsible if you’re injured at an office holiday party?

Generally, in the state of Minnesota, an employer is generally not liable for injuries at an office holiday party. However, there are exceptions if the injury occurred on company property and was during the course of employment. 

If you go to a company-sponsored holiday party, make sure to take the same safety steps you would on any other night out. And remember to always drink responsibly for yourself and make sure to have a designated driver for everyone else.

What if I get food poisoning from a company holiday dinner?

The United States Department of Labor states that in order for your employer to be liable for food poisoning, the illness must have resulted from events or exposures in your work environment. This means that your employer isn’t responsible if you experienced food poisoning from going out to a restaurant, even if it was with the company (liability, in that circumstance, would fall to the restaurant itself). 

However, if your employer-provided food in your work environment during company hours, then there’s a good chance they can be held accountable and should not dock your wages should you have to take time off work to recover. 

Practice the same caution when eating any food from a source outside your own kitchen. And remember that you are never under any obligation to eat bad food simply because it has been provided by the person who signs your paycheck

What if I’m injured putting up office xmas decorations?

Every single year, an estimated 173,000 people are injured putting up holiday decorations. Many of these accidents happen at the office, which is dangerous because office decorations are often bigger than what we have at home – the trees are larger, there are more lights, and there are more things to trip on like wrapping paper.

However, if you’re injured putting up decorations at the office, your employer can only be held liable if one condition is met: it was part of your assigned work duties. 

If you take upon the task yourself and are injured, your employer cannot be held responsible simply because it happened on company property.

If you’re asked to put up holiday decorations at your office, ask your boss or supervisor to make the request in writing. If you are injured during the process, the documented evidence will be vital to proving the company is liable.

Take time putting up and removing decorations. If it’s part of your work duties, treat it like any other part of the job and perform it consciously and considerately. Ask for help when lifting heavy objects and don’t forget to clear floors of any slippery surfaces.

Injured by a gift from boss or company?

As nice as gifts from others can be, there are rare instances where people have been injured by the gifts they’ve received. If you receive a present from your employer or company that injures you, then liability will depend on whether or not the gift giver knew it could cause damage. If a company gifts its employees coffee mugs and they get injured as a result of misuse, the company is not liable. However, if a company gifts its employees coffee mugs knowing that the mugs are defective and could cause damage from hot liquid spills, they could be liable. 

Make sure to take care with any present you’re given. Read all instructions, be careful when opening sharp packaging, and always operate within the safety guidelines.

Have you been injured at the office due to a holiday-related event? If so, there may be a worker’s comp claim. Call our office today to discuss your case. We won’t make you wait for a reply