Certiorari to review a decision of the Industrial Commission affirming a referee's determination that the employee-respondent is entitled to compensation for injuries received while employed by employer-relator. The only issue raised is whether or not the accident occurred during respondent's "hours of service" within the meaning of the statute.
The employee, John Blattner, was 71 years of age at the date of the accident, June 22, 1959. For several years he had been regularly employed as a doorman by relator, Moose Club Lodge No. 1400, in its clubhouse at Waite Park. His duties consisted of examining the dues receipts of patrons as they came in to determine whether they were paid-up members. Although the bartender remained on duty and
On the night of the accident the employee finished his work at midnight, and, having been assured of a ride by the bartender, sat on a bar stool waiting for the club to close. The evidence is undisputed that during this interval he remained in one place, had nothing to drink, and occupied his time visiting with whoever was at hand. At 1 a.m. the bartender suggested that Mr. Blattner go out and get in his car, parked in front of the building, while he put the receipts in the safe and locked up, a procedure which ordinarily took about 15 minutes. The employee left by the supply door, and as he stepped from a concrete platform or curb he tripped over a ledge, as a result of which he fell and fractured his hip.
The conditions under which an employee is entitled to compensation under our statute are defined in Minn. St. 176.011, subd. 16, as follows:
"`Personal injury' means injury arising out of and in the course of employment * * *; but does not cover an employe except while engaged in, on, or about the premises where his services require his presence as a part of such service at the time of the injury and during the hours of such service. * * *" (Italics supplied.)
Our court early decided that under the Minnesota Workmen's Compensation Act the employer had a duty to furnish employees safe ingress and egress on its premises, and that "hours of service" included
In the light of all of the circumstances here present we hold that the commission was justified in finding the employee was reasonably prompt in leaving the premises after his duties terminated.
A number of courts have passed on this question. In Yeager v. Chapman, 233 Minn. 1, 45 N.W.2d 776, 22 A.L.R. (2d) 1260, which was not sued under the Workmen's Compensation Act, plaintiff was injured when she appeared at her place of employment an hour early in order to make a hair-dressing appointment. This we said was a personal mission unrelated to her duties. Because her employment was not a "significant factor" in exposing her to injury, we held there was no error in finding plaintiff was not acting in the course of her employment and was therefore at liberty to pursue her commonlaw remedies. However, we reached a contrary conclusion in a prior decision under the Workmen's Compensation Act. Novack v. Montgomery Ward & Co. 158 Minn. 495, 198 N.W. 290. There an employee was injured when she arrived at work 20 minutes before starting time but her presence was not prompted by personal considerations, and we held that the time was reasonable, suggesting that the uncertainty of contending with winter traffic was a factor the employee could consider in planning the time of her arrival.
A decision which we believe singularly analogous to the instant case is Babkees v. Electrolux Corp. 4 App. Div. (2d) 710, 163 N.Y.S.2d 809. In that case a physically handicapped employee remained at her desk an hour after work, waiting for her husband to pick her up. During that time she performed no service for the employer. While leaving she tripped and was injured. The court affirmed the compensation board's findings that the injury occurred in the course of her employment, and that her presence was a benefit to the employer who would otherwise have been deprived of her services.
A Pennsylvania trial court has found that an employee who was injured while waiting from 15 minutes to three-quarters of an hour for his son to drive him home remained in the course of his employment while on his employer's premises. Fronczek, Admr. v. Independent Mfg. Co. 59 Pa. D. & C. 612. The court pointed out that there was
Both respondent and relators cite Olson v. Trinity Lodge, 226 Minn. 141, 32 N.W.2d 255, as controlling. There a part-time janitor who resided in the lodge building was injured in front of the premises while returning from his regular employment intending to go to his room and thereafter fire the furnace. We stated (226 Minn. 145, 32 N.W.2d 258):
"* * * The term `hours of service' must not be construed so narrowly as to include only that time for which the worker is paid or only those moments which he actually spends at a shovel, machine, or workbench. An injury to a workman may arise out of and in the course of his employment even if he is not actually working at the time of his injury."
The relators contend that in the instant case there was not the identity of time and destination which was present in the Olson situation. We think otherwise. We have regarded as immaterial whether the employee was entering or leaving the place of employment, provided the injury occurred on the premises.
The decisive issue is whether Mr. Blattner's delay in departure was for a personal purpose unrelated to his employment, or whether this arrangement was of benefit to the employer. It is significant that the employee was not deviating from a normal route of departure when he was injured. He did not linger at the bar for personal pleasure but only to secure the transportation which was necessary to his work. He was not aimlessly loitering or pursuing a purpose wholly divorced from his employment. Because of his extremely modest salary it can be presumed that the number of candidates for the position was limited and that it was therefore to his employer's advantage to facilitate his transportation in order to assure his availability. There is nothing in the record to indicate the delay in any way increased the hazards of his employment or enlarged his exposure to danger.
We have consistently stressed the remedial nature of the Workmen's
Respondent is allowed $250 attorney's fees.