When an employee is working in the “course and scope of employment,” many things legally are in play. For one, under agency principles like repondeat superior, an employee’s actions that result in a legally cognizable harm and are in furtherance of the employer’s objectives, will often result in both the employer and employee being held liable. The reasoning is that the employee was acting on behalf of the employer, and thus the employee was an agent of the employer, and both parties should be liable.
More pertinently, whether an employee is working in the “course and scope of employment” is crucial in determining whether an employee is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under Missouri Law. This question can sometimes be a close call. As I’ve previously said, in Missouri — and just about every other State — you must be injured “on the job” to receive workers’ compensation. Being “on the job” has been closely scrutnized. Do lunch breaks count? What about slight detours from working? Case precedent generally provides the answers.
See my previous posts: Average Weekly Wage, and Missouri Workers’ Compensation Terminoloy for further information on Missouri Workers’ Compensation Law.