Does every employee injury that occurs on your company’s property entitle the injured person to workers’ comp? What about when employees are eating their lunch?
Lindamarie Serraino worked as a medical technologist for Defiance Clinic in Ohio. To improve the work environment, the Clinic started a lunch program. It periodically invited local caterers to sell food to employees in the Clinic’s break room.
Participation in the lunch program was optional. Employees paid full price for the food — there was no discount to Clinic workers. The Clinic didn’t receive any portion of the caterers’ sales.
During her day-shift job, Serraino had a one-hour, unpaid lunch break.
In the first full week of August 2005, Serraino ate catered lunches on several days. On Saturday of that week, Serraino became ill and sought medical treatment. She was diagnosed with salmonella poisoning.
The County Health Department investigated and found five other confirmed cases of salmonella poisoning. Each person had eaten one or more catered lunches served at the Clinic during the previous week. However, the Health Department was unable to conclusively identify the source of the salmonella, even though its investigation centered around Classic Catering by Kim Brown.
Serraino applied for workers’ comp benefits for the salmonella poisoning.
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