US AIRWAYS, INC. AND SEDGWICK CLAIMS MANAGEMENT SERVICES, INC., Appellants
WORKERS' COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (BOCKELMAN), Appellees
ARGUED: May 14, 2019
from the Order of the Commonwealth Court entered February 22,
2018 at No. 612 CD 2017, affirming the Order of the
Workers' Compensation Appeal Board dated April 19, 2017
at No. A16-0545.
SAYLOR, C.J., BAER, TODD, DONOHUE, DOUGHERTY, WECHT, MUNDY,
appeal involves an airline employee who was injured while
riding an airport shuttle bus to an employee parking lot
after her shift ended. The question before us is whether the
employee's injury can be said to have occurred on the
airline's premises for purposes of the Workers'
Compensation Act even though the City of Philadelphia owned
both the shuttle bus and the employee parking lot.
Claimant in this appeal, Betty Bockelman, is a
Philadelphia-based flight attendant. On January 23, 2015,
Bockelman was scheduled to work a one-day trip from
Philadelphia to Miami and then back to Philadelphia. On that
morning, Bockelman drove her personal vehicle to the
Philadelphia International Airport and parked (for free) in
one of two employee parking lots at the airport.
Bockelman's employer, U.S. Airways,  does not own or
operate these parking lots. Instead, the City of Philadelphia
Division of Aviation ("the Division" or
"Division of Aviation") owns, operates, and
maintains the parking lots specifically for airport and
seeking to enter the Division's restricted parking lots
must swipe a special credential called a Secured
Identification Display Area ("SIDA") badge. The
Division is responsible for issuing SIDA badges to all
airport employees with jobs that require access to secure
areas of the airport. The Division conducts a background
check and fingerprinting before issuing a SIDA badge to an
airline employee. When a new employee is hired, her employer
pays the Division of Aviation a one-time administrative fee
to cover the cost of the badge and the background check.
an employee parks in one of the reserved lots, a Division of
Aviation shuttle bus transports the employee to the airport
terminal. These shuttles are not open to the
public; they are for airport employees only. U.S. Airways
itself does not own or exercise control over the shuttle
buses, nor does it pay the Division any fees for its
employees to use the shuttles. U.S. Airways does not require
employees to use the Division's parking lots or shuttle
service. In fact, U.S. Airways gives its employees no
guidance at all regarding how they should commute to work.
day of her injury, Bockelman rode the Division shuttle to the
airport terminal and flew to Miami as scheduled. She then
returned back in Philadelphia just before 10:00 p.m. that
evening. After a brief discussion with a co-worker, Bockelman
left the terminal and boarded the shuttle bus to take her
back to her vehicle. While lifting her suitcase onto one of
the shuttle's luggage racks, Bockelman slipped in a
puddle, fell backwards, and crushed her left foot.
later filed a workers' compensation claim petition
alleging that she sustained disabling foot and ankle injuries
as a result of the January 2015 slip and fall. She sought
total temporary disability benefits for a closed period from
January 23, 2015 (the date of her injury) through April 19,
2015 (when she ultimately returned to work). U.S. Airways
filed an answer, denying that Bockelman was within the course
of her employment at the time of her injury. See 77
P.S. § 411(1) (defining a compensable injury to mean an
injury that arises in the course of employment).
Workers' Compensation Judge ("WCJ") held a
hearing on Bockelman's claim petition in late October
2015. In support of her petition, Bockelman testified that,
at the time of her injury, she was a member of the
Association of Flight Attendants ("AFA"), a labor
union representing flight attendants. Bockelman also produced
a collective bargaining agreement between the AFA and U.S.
Airways, which included a provision stating that U.S. Airways
was responsible for providing either free or reimbursed
parking for flight attendants at their domicile airports.
opposition, U.S. Airways presented documentary evidence and
offered the testimony of Anthony Stanley, the Director of
Planning and Administration for U.S. Airways. Stanley
testified that U.S. Airways did not pay for Bockelman, or any
other Philadelphia- based flight attendants, to park in the
employee parking lots at the Philadelphia International
Airport. Stanley explained that the City of Philadelphia owns
and operates all airport-employee parking lots, including the
lot in which Bockelman parked on the day that she was
injured. Stanley testified that the Division's lots are
not only for U.S. Airways' employees; rather, they are
open to all airport and airline employees. Finally, while
Stanley acknowledged that the AFA's collective bargaining
agreement states that U.S. Airways will provide free or
reimbursed parking for flight attendants, he testified that
those specific provisions do not apply to flight attendants
like Bockelman who are domiciled in Philadelphia, since the
Division of Aviation already provides free parking for
granted Bockelman's claim petition. In his decision, the
WCJ explained that, if an employee is not actively furthering
her employer's business or affairs when she suffers an
injury, the injury arises in the course of employment only
if: (1) the injury occurs on the employer's premises; (2)
the employee's presence on the employer's premises is
required by the nature of her employment; and (3) the
employee's injury was caused by the condition of the
premises or by the operation of the employer's business
thereon.WCJ Opinion, 4/27/2016, at 11;
see 77 P.S. § 411(1).
found that Bockelman's injury satisfied all three
elements of this test. As for the first prong, the WCJ noted
that Bockelman was injured while "taking a specifically
designated shuttle bus to an employee parking lot that
required an identification card (the SIDA badge) for entry
and exit." WCJ Opinion, 4/27/2016, at 11. Turning to the
second prong, the WCJ stressed that Bockelman "boarded
the [shuttle] bus soon after her flight had landed in
Philadelphia." Id. Finally, with regard to the
third prong, the WCJ noted that the evidence was undisputed
that Bockelman's injury was caused by the wet floor on
the shuttle bus. Id. Accordingly, the WCJ concluded
that Bockelman's injury arose in the course of her
employment. U.S. Airways appealed to the Workers'
Compensation Appeal Board ("Appeal Board"), which
affirmed the WCJ's decision.
Airways then appealed to the Commonwealth Court, arguing that
the WCJ erred in concluding that Bockelman's injury
satisfied the first two prongs of the Slaugenhaupt
test. According to U.S. Airways, Bockelman's injury did
not occur on the airline's premises given that U.S.
Airways neither owned nor operated the shuttle upon which
Bockelman was injured. Furthermore, U.S. Airways maintained
that Bockelman's presence on the airport shuttle was not
mandatory, since U.S. Airways did not direct its employees to
park in any particular lot at the airport.
Commonwealth Court rejected both of U.S. Airways'
arguments in a unanimous, published opinion. US Airways,
Inc. v. W.C.A.B. (Bockelman), 179 A.3d 1177 (Pa. Cmwlth.
2018). The court first agreed with the WCJ that, under the
Slaugenhaupt test, an employee's injury arises
in the course of her employment when: (1) the employee is on
the premises occupied or controlled by the employer or upon
which the employer's affairs are being carried on; (2)
the employee is required by the nature of her employment to
be present on the employer's premises; and (3) the
employee sustains injuries caused by the condition of the
premises or by operation of the employer's business or
affairs thereon. Id. at 1180 (citing
Slaugenhaupt, 376 A.2d at 273).
court next explained that the first element of the
Slaugenhaupt test is satisfied not only when an
employee is on an employer's premises proper, but also
any areas significantly connected to an employer's
affairs, including a reasonable avenue of ingress to and
egress from the workplace. Id. at 1180-82 (citing
Epler v. N. Am. Rockwell Corp., 393 A.2d 1163,
1166-67 (Pa. 1978) (holding that an employee crossing a
public street between employer's plant and employer's
parking lot remained on the employer's premises);
Interstate United Corp. v. W.C.A.B. (Bair), 424 A.2d
1015, 1017 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1981) (holding that a steel-plant
cafeteria worker was on her employer's premises when she
fell on a footbridge that connected the plant to a public
street); and Fashion Hosiery Shops v. W.C.A.B.
(Kurta), 423 A.2d 792, 797 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1980) (holding
that a walkway near the entrance of a multi-tenant commercial
building constituted part of the employer's premises)).
Thus, the court found that, because Bockelman was present on
a reasonable means of access to and from the airport
terminal, she satisfied the first requirement of the
the court noted that the second requirement of the
Slaugenhaupt test-that the employee is required by
the nature of her employment to be present on the
employer's premises-is satisfied not only where an
employee is on the premises at issue to work, but also where
she is entering or exiting her workspace within a reasonable
time before or after her shift. US Airways, 179 A.3d
at 1182-83 (discussing ICT Group v. W.C.A.B.
(Churchray-Woytunick), 995 A.2d 927, 932 (Pa. Cmwlth.
2010) (holding that an employee leaving for her lunch break
and walking on employer's premises was required by the
nature of her work to be present) and Allegheny Ludlum
Corp. v. W.C.A.B. (Hines), 913 A.2d 345, 349 (Pa.
Cmwlth. 2006) (holding that an employee starting his shift
and walking along the only authorized route to workspace was
required by the nature of his work to be present)). Applying
that principle, the Commonwealth Court held that, because
Bockelman used the airport shuttle as a reasonable means of
egress from her workplace, she satisfied the second
requirement of the Slaugenhaupt test. Having
rejected U.S. Airways' arguments regarding the first two
prongs of the Slaugenhaupt test, the Commonwealth
Court affirmed the WCJ's award of benefits.
Airways filed a petition for allowance of appeal, which we
granted to consider whether a worker who voluntarily uses an
optional employee parking area remains in the course of her
employment while traveling between that area and her typical
workspace. The answer to that question lies in Section
301(c)(1) of the Workers' Compensation Act, which we
construe using the interpretative principles codified in the
Statutory Construction Act. See 1 Pa.C.S. §
1501 et seq. Foremost among those principles is the
rule that remedial legislation like the Workers'
Compensation Act should be ...