Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Marion R. Jones v. Rehabilitation Coordinators, Inc., No. A-83340.
John W. McTiernan, McArdle, Caroselli, Spagnolli & Beachler, for petitioner.
Michael D. Sherman, with him, Joseph F. Grochmal, Fried, Kane, Walters & Zuschlag, for respondents.
Judges Williams, and Barry and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt. Judge Williams, Jr., did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 427]
Marion R. Jones (claimant) appeals here from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) denying disability benefits on the basis that her disabling injury was not sustained while she was in the course of her employment.
The findings establish that the claimant, a registered nurse, was employed by Rehabilitation Coordinators, Inc. (employer) as a rehabilitation coordinator and that she worked out of her own home, setting her
[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 428]
own time and work schedule, and reporting to the employer's offices only for conferences and upon request. As part of her job she would go to clients' homes to meet with them and to accompany them on appointments with physicians and related personnel and would participate in the formulation and integration of treatment plans to facilitate their rehabilitation. She performed part of her work at home, such as writing reports and making telephone calls, and, while she was paid for that time and for her out of pocket expenses, the employer did not pay for the use of her home as an office or for any home maintenance. The employer paid her for her professional time as well as for her traveling and waiting time, and paid her mileage to and from her assignments. It was further found that her employment and earning time ran from when she entered her car to undertake an assignment until she left it upon the assignment's completion. On the date of the injury in question, she had taken a client for an examination, brought him back to his home, then returned to her own home. She parked her car in front, crossed the sidewalk and ascended the steps to a walk on her property where she slipped and fell on a patch of ice, suffering the injuries resulting in her disability.
Section 301(c) of the Workmen's Compensation Act*fn1 (Act) provides that, for purposes of the Act, compensable injuries include those sustained while an employee is engaged in the furtherance of the employer's affairs or his business, "whether upon the employer's premises or elsewhere." 77 P.S. § 411(1). These provisions have been applied expansively, in cases involving traveling employees, through the "going and coming rule", which established four exceptions to the maxim that injuries sustained while an employee is going to or coming from work may not be considered
[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 429]
to have occurred in the course of employment. Accordingly, an employee's injury sustained while going to or coming from work may be deemed to have occurred in the course of his employment if: (1) the employment contract included transportation to and from work; (2) the claimant has no fixed place of work; (3) the claimant is on special assignment for the employer; or (4) special circumstances are such that the claimant was furthering the business of the employer. William F. Rittner Co. v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Rittner), 76 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 596, 464 A.2d 675 (1983).
The Board conceded that this claimant had no fixed place of work and that she was compensated for her transportation expenses. It determined, however, that, on the date of the injury in question, her transportation was over when she parked her car, and that she was then "home" and no longer performing her duties as an employee. It then further noted that, while she did work for the employer at her house, her intentions on entering the house were merely to prepare dinner, not to work for the employer. The Board concluded that the injury did not ...