The Colorado Court of Appeals held that a pilot’s injury sustained while exercising during a layover is not compensable.
Here, claimant flew to Seattle, Washington where he had a scheduled layover. During the layover, claimant went for a run outside. During the run, claimant ruptured his Achilles tendon. The ALJ denied claimant’s claim for benefits because the run was a “voluntary, recreational activity” which the legislature explicitly excluded from the definition of “employee” in C.R.S. § 8-40-301(1). The Industrial Claim Appeals Office (ICAO) affirmed on the same grounds and claimant appealed.
The Court of Appeals affirmed both ICAO and the ALJ. Claimant argued that his employer encouraged exercise and thus the run was not “recreational.” However, the Court of Appeals disagreed, holding that although the employer encouraged its pilots to exercise, “an encouragement is not a corporate mandate.” Even though the employer presumably received some sort of benefit from claimant’s exercise, it did not exert a modicum of control over claimant’s exercise. Therefore, the run was still characterized as “recreational.”
Because the run was “recreational,” the claimant was not a covered employee under the Workers’ Compensation Act, as referenced above. Therefore, the Court did not deem it necessary to discuss claimant’s other argument, which was that he was in “travel status.” Kendrick v. Indus. Claim Appeals Office, No. 16CA2048 (Colo. App. 2017).
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