South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Injury Suffered in Assault While on the Job Covered by Workers' Compensation
Description An Oklahoma appeals court held that a worker at a store who suffered a partial permanent disability when struck by a customer while discussing a third party, was due workers' compensation since the assault was not purely personal, as the parties did not know each other well and the employee did not provoke the assault.
Topic Employment Law
Key Words Workers' Compensation; Course-of-Employment; Assault
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Meadows was working at a Dollar General store when a customer, who Meadows knew slightly, asked her about another person, then threw a can of motor oil at Meadows, causing injury to her eye. Meadows was awarded permanent partial disability for her injury. Dollar General appealed, contending that the injury did not arise in the course of employment, but was an assault motivated by personal animosity.
Decision

Affirmed. "An injury arises 'out of employment' if there is a causal relationship between the requirements of the claimant's employment and the act in which the claimant is engaged when the injury occurs." Here, Meadows testified that she did not know the assailant well; there had not been a prior confrontation and she had done nothing to provoke the attack. She was injured while she was in the process of completing a sale to the assailant, which was in the course of her employment.

Citation Dollar General Corp. v. Meadows, --- P.3d --- (2002 WL 31991909, Ct. Civ. App., Okla., 2002)

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