Companies may want to think twice before sponsoring kickball teams for the employees. South Carolina’s Supreme Court just decided that if one of those workers gets hurt, the company will have to pay workers’ compensation. Per the Associated Press:
On Wednesday, the court ruled that Stephen Whigham, who was injured in a company kickball game, is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits because he was required to attend the game as part of his job.
Whigham worked for Jackson Dawson Communications, a public relations firm. With the encouragement of his boss, he organized a kickball game as a team-building event for employees. He rented a facility and had T-shirts made.
During the Friday afternoon game, Whigham shattered two bones in his leg while trying to avoid being tagged out. He underwent two surgeries and has been told that he’ll ultimately need a knee replacement, according to court documents.
Firstly, kickball in South Carolina sounds hardcore. Here in D.C., it’s mostly just another excuse to share beers with your buddies. If someone’s feels like it, maybe they’ll run around the bases, but I digress.
The main factor in the court’s decision was the fact that Whigham was required to play. As the organizer of the event, the game because part of his job, the AP reports, adding Whigham’s original claim was declined when it was believed to be voluntary.
The decision was not unanimous, however. Two judges said that while Whigham’s organizational duties may have been required as part of his job, playing in the game wasn’t.
The amount Whigham will get is not yet decided.
In any case, this is the biggest news to happen in kickball since Bill Murray crashed a kickball match in New York City in 2012.