The Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) approved the granting of disability benefits to a depot operator who suffered spine cord injury due to an accident on his way home from their company’s team building activity.

On November 4, 2018, the depot operator participated in his company’s team building. After the activity, they went to a nearby restaurant to eat. He was then dropped off beside the bridge near his house. On his way home, he accidentally slipped and lost consciousness. Due to the accident, he sustained multiple injuries and was brought to the hospital for medical treatment.

On May 6, 2019, the depot operator filed an EC sickness claim, but the Social Security System (SSS) denied it. According to the SSS, the claim for EC benefit was denied on the ground that there was a deviation from his usual route of going home from work.

On appeal, the ECC decided to grant the disability claim in favor of the depot operator.

According to ECC, the accident involving the appellant falls within the scope of the “Going to and coming from the place of work” rule and personal comfort doctrine.

Under ECC Board Resolution No. 3914-A, an injury or death of an employee resulting from an accident while going to or coming from the place of work may be considered as compensable when, “The act of the employee in going to, or coming from, the workplace, must have been a continuing act, that is, he had not been diverted therefrom by any other activity, and he had not departed from his usual route to, or from, his workplace.”

On the other hand, injuries or accidents that happened when the employee was ministering to personal comfort such as satisfaction of his thirst, hunger, or other physical demands shall be also considered as incidental to his employment. Hence, compensable under the Employees’ Compensation Program (ECP).

The ECC explained that there was no substantial deviation from the usual route of the appellant as he travelled towards his home. Furthermore, there is no proof showing that the accident was due to intoxication, willful intention to injure or kill himself or another, or notorious negligence.

Appellant’s act of dropping by to a nearby restaurant for a soup after their team building activity and before going home can only be considered as insubstantial deviation.

The ECC granted the appellant’s EC disability benefits based on the degree of his disability.

EC Claims for work-related sickness or injury resulting in disability or death are filed at the SSS for private sector workers and GSIS for public sector workers.