New court decisions could impact your business

Tuesday, January 15, 2002

The following are three recent workers' and unemployment compensation cases that could have an impact on your business.

  • A recent ruling by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals expanded employer liability to include forces outside of a place of business. In the case Fogelback v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., a store patron tripped on a plastic band. Although the plaintiff could not prove where the trash came from or that it was the fault of the store, the court found the store responsible. The plastic band on which the plaintiff tripped, the court said, "was a foreseeable hazard and the defendant was negligent in not finding it and removing it."

  • The Court of Appeals for the Southern District of Missouri recently overturned an order by the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission (LIRC). The LIRC granted unemployment compensation to an employee who had failed a drug test and was dismissed. The court ruled in favor of Missouri business, finding that the amount of narcotics in the employee's system would have led to impairment. The behavior was properly classified as misconduct, and the dismissed employee should not have been awarded compensation. For more information see George's Processing Inc. v. Ottendorf.

  • The Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Missouri ruled in October that if an employer encourages an employee to use a parking facility not under the control of the employer, that parking lot is included in the extended premises doctrine. In the case, Roberts v. Parker-Banks Chevrolet, the court ruled that the employer is responsible for injuries that occur to its employees on that facility. This ruling expands the Missouri doctrine that allows compensation to an employee for injuries that occur while going to or leaving work if that injury takes place on the employers' premises, or in this case, extended premises.

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