Argued: March 13, 2019
BEFORE: HONORABLE MARY HANNAH LEAVITT, President Judge
HONORABLE RENÉE COHN JUBELIRER, Judge HONORABLE
PATRICIA A. McCULLOUGH, Judge HONORABLE ANNE E. COVEY, Judge
HONORABLE MICHAEL H. WOJCIK, Judge HONORABLE CHRISTINE
FIZZANO CANNON, Judge HONORABLE ELLEN CEISLER, Judge
E. COVEY, JUDGE. 
Peters (Claimant) petitions this Court for review of the
Workers' Compensation (WC) Appeal Board's (Board)
November 16, 2017 order affirming the WC Judge's (WCJ)
decision dismissing his Claim Petition. The issue before this
Court is whether the Board erred in determining that Claimant
was not in the course and scope of his employment when his
injury occurred. After review, we affirm.
Corporation (Employer) employed Claimant as a uniform sales
representative. Claimant's home branch was located in
Allentown, although Claimant would also work from home as
necessary. Claimant's job duties entailed cold calling
potential prospects, scheduling appointments, meeting with
contacts to present the products, and eventually closing the
sale and negotiating the contracts. His workweek included
some time in the office on Monday mornings, Tuesdays, and
Wednesday mornings to set the appointments, and in the field
the remainder of the week.
February 27, 2015, a full sales day, Claimant was in the
northern portion of his territory which included Pottsville,
Orwigsburg, and Tower City. After his last appointment that
day he drove to Allentown to attend a celebration with
co-workers at the Tilted Kilt. On the way, Claimant passed
the exit for his home and continued to drive to the Tilted
Kilt. It is disputed how long Claimant stayed at the Tilted
Kilt. While driving home, Claimant was involved in a motor
vehicle accident from which he sustained multiple injuries.
December 29, 2015, Claimant filed the Claim Petition seeking
payment of partial disability benefits from February 28 to
April 2, 2015 and total disability as of April 3, 2015.
Employer filed an Answer denying the material averments. The
WCJ held hearings on February 10 and April 1, 2016. On
November 1, 2016, the WCJ denied and dismissed the Claim
Petition concluding that Claimant failed to meet his burden
of proving that he was in the course and scope of employment
at the time of his motor vehicle accident. Claimant appealed
to the Board. On November 16, 2017, the Board affirmed the
WCJ's decision. Claimant appealed to this
argues that he was in the course and scope of employment at
the time of the accident because he was a traveling employee
on his way home from a work-sponsored event in a work van.
Employer responds that because Claimant made a clear
departure from his employment, Claimant was not in the course
and scope of employment, as a matter of law, at the time of
the motor vehicle accident. Specifically, Employer contends
that the WCJ's findings of fact clearly establish that
Claimant's actions were so removed from his employment as
to constitute abandonment.
"[w]hether an employee is acting within the course of
his employment is a legal determination to be made based upon
the WCJ's findings of fact." Ace Wire Spring
& Form Co. v. Workers' Comp. Appeal Bd.
(Walshesky), 93 A.3d 923, 931 (Pa. Cmwlth.
[t]his Court has analyzed course of employment cases in two
ways, depending on whether the claimant is a traveling or
stationary employee. What constitutes 'scope and course
of employment' is broader for traveling employees than
for stationary employees, and it includes driving to any
appointment for the employer. Whether a claimant is a
traveling employee is determined on a case by case basis, and
the Court must consider whether the claimant's job duties
involve travel, whether the claimant works on the
employer's premises or whether the claimant has no fixed
place of work.
Rana v. Workers' Comp. Appeal Bd. (Asha Corp.),
170 A.3d 1279, 1284 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2017) (citations omitted).
When an employee is determined to be a traveling employee, he
is entitled to a presumption that he is in the course and
scope of employment when he is traveling to or from work.
See id. "To rebut this presumption, [an
e]mployer ha[s] to establish [employee's] actions at the
time of the accident were 'so foreign to and removed
from' his usual employment that those actions constituted
abandonment of employment." Id. at 1285
(quoting Holler v. Workers' Comp. Appeal Bd. (Tri
Wire Eng'g Solutions, Inc.), 104 A.3d 68, 71 (Pa.
Cmwlth. 2014)). The issue herein is whether Employer rebutted
the presumption that as a traveling employee who set out to
work in the morning, Claimant's injury occurred while in
the course and scope of his employment.
begin our analysis with a review of cases involving the
traveling employee presumption. In 1966, the Pennsylvania
Superior Court decided Maher v. Hallmark Cards,
Inc., 218 A.2d 593 (Pa. Super. 1966). In Maher,
the decedent, a traveling employee, stopped at a hotel for
drinks with co-workers after finishing the employer's
business and was in an accident on his way home therefrom.
The Maher Court ruled that the traveling employee
presumption applied, the employer did not rebut the
presumption, and the decedent's spouse was entitled to
this Court held in Oakes v. Workmen's Compensation
Appeal Board (Pennsylvania Electric Co.), 469 A.2d 723
(Pa. Cmwlth. 1984): "[T]he established principal (sic)
that one who is employed to travel and who is provided with
transportation in order to carry out such duty has a scope of
employment that is 'necessarily broader than that of an
ordinary employee, and is to be liberally construed to
effectuate the purposes of the [WC] Act.'"
Oakes, 469 A.2d at 725 (quoting Aluminum Co. of
Am. v. Workmen's Comp. Appeal Bd. (Lindsay), 380
A.2d 941 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1977)).
examination of the underlying facts in each case reveals the
rationale behind the traveling employee presumption. In
Maher, the claimant's decedent was working in
Downingtown, Pennsylvania, and went across the street from
the news agency wherein he was assisting other salesmen in
setting up a greeting card display, to a hotel for drinks
after his work was completed. The accident occurred in
Downingtown, on his way home to Philadelphia. Clearly, the
decedent had not left his work location of Downingtown at the
time of the accident. Similarly, in Oakes, the
claimant's decedent had been working in Meadville,
Pennsylvania, approximately 13.3 miles from his home. The
decedent stopped numerous places after his work was
completed. However, all of the places he stopped were in
Meadville. The accident happened while the decedent was
traveling home from Meadville. Thus, because the decedents in
Maher and Oakes were not in the vicinity of
their homes when they stopped after the end of their
workdays, "[t]he homeward trip was a necessary part of
the[ir] business excursion[s]." Oakes,
469 A.2d at 726 (emphasis omitted) (quoting Maher,
218 A.2d at 596). As has been recognized, traveling employees
do not have "the option of avoiding" the
hazards of traveling homeward. Ball-Foster Glass
Container Co. v. Giovanelli, 177 P.3d 692, 697 (Wash.
2008) (emphasis added).
as this Court in Roman v. Workmen's Compensation
Appeal Board (Department of Environmental Resources),
616 A.2d 128, 130 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1992), expounded:
"[T]emporary departures from the work routine for the
purpose of administering to the comforts of an
off-the-premises employee . . . will not interrupt
the continuity of the employee's course of
employment." Id. at 130-31 (emphasis added)
(quoting Port Auth. of Allegheny Cty. v. Workmen's
Comp. Appeal Bd. (Stevens), 452 A.2d 902 (Pa. Cmwlth.
Roman, the claimant worked as an inspector, which
required him to travel to various construction sites. After
finishing an inspection, the claimant was injured in a motor
vehicle accident. The claimant testified that at the time of
the accident he was on his way to check in to a hotel in
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The employer presented contrary
evidence to show that when the accident occurred the claimant
was en route to meet his girlfriend. The referee found that
comparable hotels were available closer to the construction
sites, but the claimant chose to stay in Wilkes-Barre so he
could visit his girlfriend. The referee also found that the
claimant was not required to check in to the hotel midday,
which is when the accident occurred. As a result, the referee
concluded the claimant was not within the course and scope of
his employment at the time of the accident, and the Board
affirmed. This Court reversed, reaffirming the legal
principle that as a traveling employee who was injured after
setting out on his employer's business, the claimant was
entitled to a presumption that he was within the course and
scope of his employment. The Roman Court explained
that the claimant was required to stay in a hotel in the
vicinity of the construction sites ...