(CN) – A water district employee who said “hello” to a co-worker by shaking his butt might be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits after the co-worker accidentally hit him with a truck trying to return the unusual greeting, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled.
Norman Vegors and Casey Byrd worked for the Xenia Rural Water District, and they sometimes acknowledged each other in odd ways, such as by waving the boom of a track hoe at each other.
One day, Vegors’ hands were full, so he wiggled his butt at Byrd to say hello. Byrd tried to respond by tapping Vegors with his truck’s mirror, but he accidentally hit Vegors with the truck bed instead.
Xenia contested Vegors’ workers’ compensation claim on the grounds that Vegors had been engaging in horseplay.
The trial court agreed with Xenia and reversed Vegors’ award.
But the state Supreme Court overturned the decision and sent the case back to the workers’ compensation board for a determination of whether Vegors’ butt-shaking had been in the course of his employment.
“The character of Vegors’ action of shaking his rear end — and not the serious injury resulting from being hit with a truck — must be analyzed to determine whether it is a deviation sufficient to bar recovery,” Justice Michael Streit wrote.