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Working Out May Be Work

Whether an employee is acting within the course of employment determines whether the employer is responsible for the employee’s acts and omissions. Under Labor Code section 3600 the course of employment for workers compensation purposes does not extend to “voluntary
participation in any off-duty recreational, social, or athletic activity not constituting part of the employee’s work-related duties, except where these activities are a reasonable expectancy of, or are expressly or impliedly required by, the employment.”

A correctional officer injured himself while doing jumping jacks at home as part of a regular exercise regimen. He claimed workers compensation benefits because correctional officers were required to “maintain themselves in good physical condition so that they can handle the strenuous physical contacts often required of a law enforcement officer,” and to undergo periodic training exercises, many of which involved physical activity. Because the officer’s department did not provide time at work for exercise, it was objectively reasonable for him to believe that he was expected to engage in an off-duty exercise regimen to maintain his physical fitness. Young v. WCAB, Case No. C075047 (Cal. Ct. App. 6/25/2014).