(CN) – An Illinois man who was hurt while playing “wallyball” can collect workers’ compensation benefits because he was on the job, a state appeals court ruled.
Sean Murphy hurt his right leg during his shift at a gym operated by the Elmhurst Park District. He was playing “wallyball,” a team sport played on a racquetball court.
The Workers’ Compensation Commission awarded him benefits, but the district objected, claiming that Murphy’s game was voluntary and recreational, and that he was not ordered to play the game as part of his job.
But the First District Appellate Court in Chicago found that Murphy’s injury was, in fact, connected to his job, because a co-worker had persuaded him to play because customers needed another player to start the game.
“Claimant did not participate in the wallyball game for his own ‘diversion’ or to ‘refresh’ or ‘strengthen’ his spirits after toil,” Judge Hudson wrote. “Rather, claimant participated in the game to accommodate respondent’s customers.”