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Employee Chasing Suspected Shoplifter Denied Worker's Compensation Benefits

June 2023

Brady Ambron recently received a favorable decision in a full contest Worker's Compensation claim that was litigated in front of the Office of Administrative Courts. The Administrative Law Judge agreed with the respondents’ argument.  The claimant’s violation of the employer’s instruction, specifically not to pursue shoplifters outside the store, limited the sphere of employment and severed the causal relationship between his employment and the injuries sustained. 

The Case

The case involved an employee’s interaction and altercation with a suspected shoplifter while working at a retail store. The claimant/employee exited the store, in violation of company policy, and continued the interaction with the suspected shoplifter in the store’s parking lot. The claimant was then struck by the suspected shoplifter’s vehicle, causing significant injury.

The Claim

The claim, if found compensable, had exposure exceeding $500,000.00. The Administrative Law Judge agreed with the respondent’s argument that the claimant took himself outside the course and scope of his employment, despite the claimant’s testimony attempting to relate his actions to his employment, and found that the claimant did not suffer a compensable injury.

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