Peters v. WCAB (majority)Annotate this Case
Jonathan Peters (Claimant) was employed by Cintas Corporation (Employer) as a uniform sales representative. In this position Claimant worked half-days in Employer’s Allentown, Pennsylvania branch office on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, and traveled the remainder of those days, as well as Thursdays and Fridays, to meet with, and present products to, potential customers in the region around Reading, Pennsylvania. Following his last sales appointment on February 27, 2015, Claimant attended an Employer-sponsored event at a pub in Allentown called the Tilted Kilt. After leaving the event Claimant was injured in a motor vehicle accident. Alleging that the motor vehicle accident occurred during the course of his employment with Employer, Claimant filed a claim petition seeking partial disability benefits from February 28, 2015 to April 2, 2015, and total disability benefits from April 3, 2015 onwards. Employer responded, specifically denying that Claimant was in the course of his employment at the time of the motor vehicle accident. In a November 2016 decision, the WCJ denied and dismissed Claimant’s claim petition. The WCJ explained that for his injuries to be compensable under the Act, Claimant had the burden of demonstrating that he was in the course of his employment with Employer at the time of the motor vehicle accident, which required him to show that he was actually engaged in the furtherance of Employer’s business or affairs at the time of the accident. The WCJ wrote that he did not doubt that work was discussed at the event but that work-related discussions do “not transform every meeting into a business meeting.”Claimant then appealed to the Commonwealth Court, which affirmed. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed, finding Claimant remained in the course of his employment through the event at the Tilted Kilt. Judgment was reversed and the matter remanded for further proceedings.