What Does a Worker’s “Scope of Employment” Mean?

Tampa workers’ compensation attorneys toss around terms like “scope of employment” all the time. It’s just another term used in the field of workers’ compensation. However, we do understand that the concept can be a bit confusing for some workers.

Here, we’ll explain what “scope of employment” means. If you still have questions, call our office and schedule your free, initial consultation.

To Qualify for Workers’ Compensation, You Must Meet Certain Criteria

Just because you get hurt at work doesn’t necessarily mean you’re entitled to benefits. Your Tampa workers’ compensation attorney must prove that you meet the criteria for workers’ compensation.

While there are a number of requirements you must meet, there are a few that are more critical than others. If your claim is denied, it will probably be denied for one of the reasons discussed below.

Your Injury Must Occur on Company Time and On Company Property

One of the most critical requirements for workers comp is that your injuries took place on company property and on company time. Your workers’ comp lawyer in Tampa understands that there are occasions where this rule doesn’t apply.

For example, if you’re a remote worker, then obviously, you won’t be on company property at the time of your injury.

Likewise, if you are a salaried employee, you don’t have a firm schedule that you must abide by. This means that there are many times you’ll have to work outside normal business hours.

You Must Be Acting Within the Scope of Your Employment

To qualify for benefits, your workers’ comp lawyer in Tampa must show that you were acting within the scope of your employment at the time of your injury. This sounds rather vague. This is on purpose.

The reason the legislature put this language in the workers’ compensation statute was to protect both workers and employers. From your employer’s perspective, they shouldn’t have to provide benefits to someone who was goofing off at the time of their accident.

From an employee’s perspective, it means the opposite. This rule can be interpreted to mean that you will qualify for benefits as long as your Tampa workers’ compensation attorney can prove you were acting within the scope of employment.

Your employer may point to your job description, insisting that the task you were performing when you got hurt wasn’t your responsibility. Your lawyer will argue that your employer constantly had people in your position perform this same duty all the time.

injured factory worker on the ground, workers' compensation concept

You Cannot Be Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol

The one rule that your Tampa workers’ compensation attorney can’t challenge is the rule about drugs and alcohol. According to Florida Statute §440.101, your employer has a right and duty to maintain a drug-free workforce.

If you test positive for drugs or alcohol after your workplace accident, you will be denied workers comp benefits. There is nothing your workers’ comp lawyer in Tampa can do to change this.

Your Employer Can Deny Your Claim if You Weren’t Acting Within the Scope of Your Employment

If your claim was denied because your employer argued that you were not acting within the scope of your employment, you can file an appeal. When your employer reviews your claim, they may be basing it exclusively on what was written in your incident report.

There are also situations where your employer has no idea that their managers force their employees to perform tasks that are not included in their job description. A detailed example of this situation will be discussed below.

A Waitress Who is Injured While Helping the Bar Backs Carry Cases of Liquor

One common scenario our Tampa workers’ compensation attorneys encounter is when a waitress gets hurt at work. Their claim is denied because their employer claims they were not acting within their scope of employment.

What happened was that the waitress decided to help two of her coworkers unload cases of beer off a delivery truck. After lifting a very heavy box, the waitress injures her back. Their employer said that unloading a delivery truck is not part of the waitress’ job. Therefore, benefits were denied.

Your Tampa Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Challenge Your Denial

If your claim is denied because you were allegedly acting outside the scope of your normal employment, your lawyer can help. They will file an appeal, providing detailed support showing that you were acting within the scope of your employment.

Your Workers’ Comp Lawyer in Tampa Will Search for Employment Records That Support Your Claim 

One way your Tampa workers’ compensation attorney will do this is by submitting documentation from work. There could be internal memos or emails indicating that you are expected to engage in duties not listed in your job description.

There may also be write-ups in your file or another employee’s file that prove people in your position were forced to perform certain duties.

Your Tampa Workers Compensation Attorney Can Always Have Coworkers Testify

If your workers’ comp lawyer in Tampa needs more evidence, they can turn to your coworkers. They’ll talk to employees you were close to. They may be willing to testify that you were required to perform the duties your employer claimed were outside your normal scope of employment.

Let Your Tampa Workers’ Compensation Attorney Handle the Legal Side of Things

We understand that it can be frustrating to learn that your workers’ compensation claim has been denied. Our workers’ comp lawyers in Tampa have appealed hundreds of claims over the years. As long as your Tampa workers’ compensation attorney can demonstrate that you meet the criteria for benefits, there’s a good chance your claim will be approved on appeal.

We suggest you call our office so we can schedule your free, initial consultation. Our firm understands that people who have been denied their workers’ comp benefits may not be in a position to pay any fees upfront.

The good news is that your consultation is free, and you pay us nothing until your case is settled.