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Today’s bonus tracks: With court ruling, employer-sponsored wellness programs could lead to workers comp claims

A New York state appellate court has ruled in favor of an employee who filed for workers compensation after suffering a spinal cord injury at an after-hours fitness class. Although gym membership and fitness class participation were not requirements of Frank Torre’s employment, the court found that since his employer, Logic Technology, paid a portion of his membership fee and the time spent at the gym could be considered part of the networking required in his position that the injury was therefore related to his employment.

As laws vary from state to state, it’s hard to say what impact the ruling of one state court will have on similar cases in the future. Still, I can imagine that upon learning about this case, employers will be at least a little worried about their own wellness programs. I hope they don’t push the panic button and cut back on these sorts of programs, though, because that would be a major mistake both because of the benefits they provide to employee health and the impact they can have on recruitment and retention.

Image credit, afhunta via iStock