Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a growing number of employees are continuing to work from home; however, working from home may complicate workers’ compensation claims. Workers’ compensation generally applies only to injuries occurring in the scope and course of employment. This can be problematic as employers have little or no control of an employee’s home office environment. It is also more difficult to prove that an injury was work-related, because there is less evidence available when an employee is typically working home alone.
Courts will likely see an increase in cases addressing what constitutes a “work premises” versus a “home premises” and whether the employment – regardless of where it is located – exposes an employee to conditions which substantially contribute to the risk of injury.
The Portland Press Herald recently reported that experts in Maine predict an increase in workers’ compensation claims due to COVID-19 infections and injuries resulting from working at home. Matt Harmon, Senior Vice President for Claims at MEMIC, a Maine based workers’ compensation insurer, stated that the company has received reports of workplace injuries in the home during the pandemic. As a result, MEMIC decided to focus on preventing soft tissue injuries resulting from neck, wrist, back, shoulder, and eye strains by providing information on safe workplace practices. For more information, visit:
Ultimately, to avoid the blurry line of work-related injuries when working from home, employers should take steps to assist employees in transitioning, and employees should make their home-work space safe and comfortable.
For more information and cases related to workers’ compensation for employees injured while working at home, please visit:
If you have questions about the above information, please give Partner Attorney, Stacy Morris a call at 402-397-7300.