In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of employees working from home has substantially increased. In fact, as many as 35 percent of employees are currently working remotely full time with another 23 percent working from home at least a few days a week. Ohio has since experienced a potentially problematic increase in workers’ compensation claims for remotely sustained work-related injuries.
In response to this increase in claims, in June 2022, Governor Mike DeWine signed into law an amendment to Ohio workers’ compensation law limiting compensability for injuries sustained while working from home.
Taking effect on September 23, 2022, House Bill 447 (H.B. 447) is an amendment to Ohio Revised Code 4123.01(C) that currently states an employee’s injury is compensable when the injury was “received in the course of, and arising out of, the injured employee’s employment” (subject to certain exceptions). Prior to this amendment taking effect, an injury sustained while working remotely has been treated in the same way as an injury sustained while in the employer’s workplace.
H.B. 447, however, will narrow the scope of coverage of Ohio’s workers’ compensation law by excluding from the definition of “injury” any “injury or disability sustained by an employee who performs the employee’s duties in a work area that is located within the employee’s home and that is separate and distinct from the location of the employer.”
However, an injury or disability will be covered under the new law if an employee can prove ALL of the following requirements of H.B. 447:
- The employee’s injury or disability arises out of the employee’s employment;
- The employee’s injury or disability was caused by a special hazard of the employee’s employment activity; AND
- The employee’s injury or disability is sustained in the course of an activity undertaken by the employee for the exclusive benefit of the employer.
The determination as to whether an injury or disability meets the aforementioned requirements will be very fact specific.
Essentially, H.B. 447 expands the definition of a “workplace injury” and will make it more difficult for employees to prove their injury or disability warrants workers’ compensation coverage.
At Obral, Silk & Pal, LLC we have nearly a century of combined legal experience helping thousands of clients navigate the complicated workers’ compensation process. If you believe you have a potential personal injury claim, contact us today for your FREE consultation.
Injuries change lives…so do we.