An employee working from home had just finished a call with her boss when she was forced to rescue her daughter’s puppy who was being attacked by a stray dog in her front yard. The employee suffered a severe laceration to her hand and post-traumatic stress disorder from the incident.

The employer rejected the ensuing claim for workers compensation arguing that the injury did not arise out of or in the course of employment noting that rescuing pooches did not form part of the employee’s duties nor was she directed by her employer to intervene.

The Personal Injury Commission (PIC) disagreed. Noting that the worker was authorised to work from home, the PIC held that the attack occurred at the employee’s workplace and it was reasonable for her to intervene in the way that she did.

Take Out Point: Employers are obligated to provide safe workplaces, even if employees are working from home. Call us for any advice on formalising workplace procedures and policies for remote employees.

See: State of New South Wales (Western NSW Local Health District) v Knight [2023] NSWPICPD 63 (10 October 2023)

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