An Estee Lauder employee who was injured at the mall was recently denied workers’ compensation benefits because she was determined to have been off duty at the time.
In the matter of Kohl v. Estee Lauder, the claimant, a traveling employee for Estee Lauder, was handing out fliers at one of the company’s stores as part of her work duties on the date that she was injured at the mall. At approximately 1 p.m., Ms. Kohl took her paid 15-minute break and walked out of the store and into the mall, with her uniform on and Estee Lauder fliers in her pocket. While walking to a coffee shop, she continued to pass out fliers to mall customers. She got coffee, then decided to go to another mall store to shop for her daughter. While entering that store, Ms. Kohl tripped and fell on the entrance steps, injuring herself.
The arbitrator in this matter denied Ms. Kohl workers’ compensation benefits, arguing that, though she was a traveling employee, Ms. Kohl was not traveling to or from work at the time she was injured at the mall. Furthermore, though Ms. Kohl was on a coffee break during work hours, she was deviating from work activities to engage in a personal activity – namely, shopping for her daughter. Ms. Kohl was engaged in this personal activity and had not yet reentered the course of her employment when she fell. Therefore, she broke the link between her injury and her employment.
The arbitrator further concluded that the accident did not arise out of Ms. Kohl’s employment. While she may have handed out fliers while walking in the mall, Ms. Kohl did not state that she was injured while handing out fliers to the general public or while she was in her assigned store or in the open mall. Instead, she fell in the entrance of a store that was completely unrelated to her work duties.
Finally, the arbitrator stated that Ms. Kohl’s injuries were not even causally related to her fall. Specifically, Ms. Kohl fell on her right side, yet she was claiming injuries to her left shoulder, elbow, and arm, and she did not initially report any left-sided symptoms. Moreover, while Ms. Kohl further claimed injury to her knees, there was no evidence on the MRI or the X-rays of any recent trauma, and she already had significant, preexisting arthritis of the knees.
If you have been involved in an on-the-job accident and have questions or are not sure what to do next, call the Illinois workers’ compensation attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers for a free consultation today. Call our office 24/7 at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with one of our representatives.