Employees are not deemed to be in the course of their employment when they are traveling to- and from-work. This rule of thumb is referred to as the “going-and-coming rule” or the “portal-to-portal” rule. Basically, there is no door-to-door coverage: the risk of travel to and from work is not distinctly related to any specific employment, and so is generally considered not arising out of and in the course of any particular employment.
Exceptions to the Going-and-Coming Rule
Of course, there are exceptions. For example:
- Outside workers – like traveling salesmen – who do not work at a fixed location and are required to travel between work locations. (See Bennett v. Marine Works, 273 N.Y. 429 ).
- Special errands – being sent by the employer to do something specific (and work-related). (See Neacosia v. New York Power Auth., 85 N.Y.2d 471 ).
- Paid travel expenses – where an employee is paid to use their own car for work-related travel, an injury occurring during that travel may be found to be compensable.
- Some home office situations – the WCB recognizes that it is not unusual for management and professional workers to have home office with links to the employer’s office, making injuries in those locations compensable.
- Entering or leaving the employer’s premises – in particular, injuries sustained while the employee is entering the worksite have been held compensable where the entrance to the worksite posed a special hazard. (See Bigley v. J & R Music Elec., 702 N.Y.S.2d 474 [3d Dep’t 2000].)