Ruling: The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board reversed the workers’ compensation judge’s finding that a police officer was in the course and scope of his employment when he was injured while performing box jumps at a CrossFit gym.
What it means: In Pennsylvania, where a police officer is not required by either the employer or the SWAT team to join a CrossFit gym or perform box jumps as a part of any physical fitness test, his injuries sustained while performing this activity do not fall within the course of his employment.
Summary: The board reversed the WCJ’s finding that a police officer was in the course and scope of his employment when he was injured while performing box jumps at a CrossFit gym.
The employer had a wellness and fitness policy, which recommended that the officers stay physically fit so they can perform their duties in a safe and healthy manner. Because the employer did not have a workout room, the officer joined a CrossFit gym.
He also was a SWAT team member for the county. His participation in the SWAT team was not required by the employer. In denying benefits, the board noted that the officer’s participation in the employer’s physical fitness program was completely voluntary.
The employer did not mandate that the officer undergo any physical fitness tests, and choosing not to participate in the testing would not result in disciplinary action.
Also, although the officer’s involvement with the SWAT team required him to undergo periodic fitness testing, his participation in that program was not a mandatory part of his employment.
In addition, the officer was not required by either the employer or the SWAT team to join a CrossFit gym or perform box jumps as a part of any physical fitness test.
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