Everyone has gotten hungry at work now and then and has heard the vending machine calling their name, and we have all had the unfortunate incident happen where your delicious bag of chips suddenly gets stuck. This was the case for a employee at Circuit City.
Clinton Dwyer was walking by a fellow co-worker when she stopped him and asked for his help to retrieve her stuck snack. Dwyer shook the machine a few times to no luck. Finally he decided the best course of action would be to take a step back and hip check the machine like he was playing hockey. He did so and fell to the ground in excruciating pain, he had fractured his hip. The next day he had surgery and to this day he claims to feel pain in humid weather and sued Circuit City for WC.
The Court ruled in favor of Dwyer. At first they cited the personal comfort doctrine which states that a employee is allowed food and restroom breaks if it is at work actions for personal comfort. They then changed the ruling to the Good Samaritan doctrine, saying the Dwyer was helping a fellow worker comply with the personal comfort doctrine.
Since the vending machine had a history of food getting stuck and there was no posted sign against shaking the machine that Dwyer was well within his rights to help his co-worker and therefore should get comp.
What are your thoughts on this case? Do you think Dwyer should be given comp benefits? I for one know when I am hungry I will usually try to best to get my snack if the machine gets stuck.
Source: Safety NewsAlert