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A Flight Attendant Injured On A Shuttle Bus Transporting Her From The Airport To An Employee Parking Lot Is Found To Be In The Course Of Her Employment For Purposes Of Her Workers’ Compensation Claim

In US Airways v. WCAB, 2018 WL 1003596 (2/22/18), the Commonwealth Court held that a flight attendant who was injured on a shuttle bus which was transporting her from her job at the Philadelphia Airport to an employee parking lot was in the course of her employment.  The employee parking lot was owned and operated by the City of Philadelphia for use of all airport employees, not just the employees of US Airways.  US Airways did not require its workers to park in the employee parking lot, and gave no directive as to where employees could park.  In addition, US Airways exercised no control over the shuttle buses.

In this case, Claimant drove her own vehicle to the airport and parked in the employee parking lot.  She then boarded a shuttle bus which transported her to the airport terminal to report to work.  Claimant then worked a one day trip to Miami and back.  Upon return to the airport terminal, she boarded the shuttle bus to transport her to the employee parking lot.   After boarding the bus, Claimant attempted to lift her suitcase onto the luggage racks and her right foot slipped on water causing her to fall onto her left foot, which was crushed.

US Airways argued that Claimant was not in the course of her employment because it did not own, lease, or control the shuttle bus or employee parking lot, and because they were not integral to its business.  US Airways also argued that Claimant was not in the course of her employment because it did not require Claimant to use the shuttle bus.

The court held that there are two distinct situations in which injuries occur in the course of employment:  (1) where the employee is injured on or off the employer’s premises while furthering the employer’s business; or (2) where the employee, although not furthering the employer’s business, (a) is on the premises occupied or under the control of the employer, or upon which the employer’s business are being carried on, (b) is required by the nature of the employment to be present on the employer’s premises, and (c) sustains an injury due to the condition of the premises or by operation of the employer’s business.  Here, there was no dispute that Claimant was not furthering employer’s business at the time of her injury.

As to the question of what constitutes the employer’s premises, the issue is whether the location is so connected with the business as to form an integral part thereof.  The issue is not whether the employer had title or control over the location, but whether the employer had caused the area to be used by employees in performance of the jobs.  Reasonable means of access customarily used by employees for ingress or egress from the workplace is considered an integral part of the employer’s premises.

Here, the court found that US Airways understood that the airport would transport its employees who drove to work to and from the employee parking lot on Shuttle buses.  Thus, the court concluded that the shuttle buses were an integral part of the Employer’s business and were part of its premises, in addition of being a customary means of ingress and egress.

Before P. Kevin Brobson, J., Michael H. Wojcik, J., and J. Wesley Oler, Jr., Senior Judge.  Opinion by Brobson.

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