A court has ruled that a remote worker, who slipped and fell walking from his bed to his desk, was injured while “commuting” to work.
“The first morning journey from bed to the home office [was] an insured work route,” according to the court.
A German court has decided that a man who slipped and fell while walking the short distance from his bed to his desk is able to claim compensation from his workplace accident insurance because his was technically in the process of commuting while traveling from one room to another.
The man broke his back during the fall, which took place on a staircase in his home.
The German Federal Social Court, which is specifically designed to oversee social security issues, has deemed that this specific incident counts as commuting to work and therefore can be designated a workplace incident.
Initially, insurance refused to cover the man’s claim, and two lower courts disagreed on whether the trip between a bed and a desk within one’s own home could actually be defined as “commuting” to work.
In the end, the higher court overruled the lower courts.
The court ruled: “The plaintiff suffered an accident at work when he fell on the way to his home office in the morning.”
“If the insured activity is carried out in the household of the insured person or at another location, insurance cover is provided to the same extent as when the activity is carried out at the company premises,” the court also noted.
It is unclear whether the man was working from home because of the COVID pandemic, or if he had done so previously.
The ruling states that the law applies to “teleworking positions”, which are “computer workstations that are permanently set up by the employer in the private area of the employees.”