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Wallyball In The Work Place

It is possible to injure oneself at work in many different ways, as a recent workers' compensation case shows.

The case involved a fitness instructor at a municipal park who injured his leg. The injury occurred while he was playing a game of wallyball, a game similar to volleyball, but played on a racquetball court. The instructor's employer disputed his claim for compensation, arguing that he was injured while engaged in a "voluntary recreational program" and that his injury thus was not work-related.

The court disagreed. The evidence showed that the instructor had been asked to play wallyball by another employee and that he had initially declined. However, the other employee told the instructor that if he did not agree to play, the game would have to be canceled for a lack of people, and so the instructor agreed to play.

Pointing to evidence that the instructor thought it was his job to promote the programs offered by his employer, the court held that the instructor was not playing for his own "diversion" but, rather, to "accommodate customers." Because he was injured while helping customers, his injury was work-related enough to recover workers' compensation.

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