Appellate Court Focuses On Lack Of Employer Control In Denying Workers’ Compensation Benefits

On March 16, 2015, the Appellate Court addressed the issue of whether an employee who slips and falls in front of a ground floor elevator in a multi-tenant building while on her way to her upper-floor office is entitled to benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

In this matter, the employee worked for Investors Bank, which was one of five tenants in a ten-story office building with Investors Bank occupying the ninth and tenth floor. Investors Bank did not own or maintain the office building. Moreover, Investors Bank did not require its employees to use a specific entrance, elevator, or stairway to reach its offices.

On the date in question, the employee parked her car in a parking space allotted to employees of Investors Bank, but not specifically assigned to her. She traversed the lobby and pressed the button on the elevator panel. While approaching the elevator, she slipped and fell into the elevator, injuring her knee.

She subsequently filed a workers’ compensation claim, which was denied by the Judge of Workers’ Compensation. In affirming the decision issued by the Judge of Workers’ Compensation, the Appellate Decision relied upon the principles set forth in Hersh and focused on the fact that Investors Bank did not require the employee to take a particular route to the office from the employer-provided parking garage. In addition, the Court highlighted the fact that Investors Bank did not have any control or authority over the lobby or the elevators.