Q: Yesterday an employee went outside for a paid break and was stung by a bee. He’s allergic and had to go the ER. Would this be a workers’ compensation injury?A: Possibly. Whether or not this work injury qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits will depend on a few factors. The sting was not work-related, but the employee was on the clock. Your worker’s compensation carrier will have to assess whether or not the sting occurred in the course of employment. A pre existing condition or existing illness is often only covered under workers’ compensation to the degree that it was exacerbated due to working conditions or job duties.
I recommend you offer the workers’ compensation paperwork to the employee, letting him know that he must file a claim in order to receive worker’s compensation benefits. If the employee chooses not to file, then ask him to put the decision in writing and note on the workers’ compensation form that he chose not to file a claim. Remind him that the company will not retaliate against him either way.