Ask HR: Can a Bee Sting Warrant a Workers' Compensation Claim?
Ask HR: Can a Bee Sting Warrant a Workers' Compensation Claim?

Ask HR: Can a Bee Sting Warrant a Workers' Compensation Claim?

Just when you think you’ve heard it all, one of your employees stumps you with a question you haven’t heard before. The pros at the HR Support Center really have heard it all—at least, until tomorrow.

Here is a recent question and expert advice from HR On-Demand, one of the features available to HR Support Center subscribers.

Question: Yesterday an employee went outside for a paid break and was stung by a bee. He’s allergic and had to go the ER. Would this be considered a workers’ compensation injury?

Answer from Eric, HR Pro:
Possibly. Whether or not this work injury qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits will depend on a few factors. The sting was not work-related, but the employee was on the clock. Your workers’ compensation carrier will have to assess whether or not the sting arose out of and in the course of employment. A preexisting condition or existing illness is often only covered under workers’ compensation to the degree that it was exacerbated due to working conditions or job duties. I suspect it may come down to how much either party wants to press its case. An ER visit may or may not be worth an insurance battle and the time of the lawyers involved.

I recommend you offer the workers’ compensation paperwork to the employee, letting him know that he must file a claim in order to receive any worker’s compensation benefits. If the employee chooses not to file, then ask him to put the decision in writing and note on the workers’ compensation form that the employee did not want to file a claim. Remind him that the company will not retaliate against him either way.

In most circumstances, I recommend allowing the employee to file a claim and contacting the carrier to inform them of any concerns. Once the carrier has the claim and related information, they can analyze the claim and decide how much they want to contest the benefits. In general, it’s best to let them handle the complicated appeals and approval process. After all, they want to control costs just like you do.

No matter how this particular claim plays out, you should inspect the facilities and arrange for safe removal of any beehives or other pest infestations that present a hazard.

Eric has extensive experience in HR, management, and training. He has held several senior HR positions, including as the HR & Operations Manager for an award-winning interactive marketing agency and as HR Director for a national law firm. Eric graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Economics from the University of Oregon with a minor in Business Administration. Eric is also active in the community, volunteering with the regional Human Resources Management Association Advocacy Team and with youth training programs.

_This Q&A content is taken straight from the experts at HR Support Center. Click here to learn more about HR Support Center and HR On-Demand; we’d also love the chance to explain in person

More to Discover

Employee Safety During COVID-19: Compliance Toolkit

Employee Safety During COVID-19: Compliance Toolkit

Vaccines are coming to the rescue, but we’re not out of the woods yet. HR leaders can’t afford to take their eye off the ball when it comes to employee safety and compliance. Now’s the time to think about creating a vaccine policy that works for your organization, and it’s not too late to implement workplace testing. If an employee does test positive for COVID-19, you’ll want to make sure you’re ready to offer the right information and support to your whole team. Paycor is offering this free compliance toolkit, including customizable letter templates to use when you: Create a mandatory vaccine policy Implement workplace testing Inform your team that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19

Demotion Letter Template

Demotion Letter Template

There’s nothing better than seeing employees thrive, but setbacks and slips in performance do happen. One way to address performance problems is a demotion. Sometimes, it’s necessary to take a step back before you can take two steps forward. Download Demotion Letter Template When is a Demotion Necessary? In an ideal world, there wouldn’t be demotions. They are a sign something’s wrong: it could be that an employee has failed to respond to a performance improvement plan or they could just be disengaged. A demotion is the last stop before termination. If you believe the person has potential and is worth investing in, then a demotion might be the best way forward. Demotions are risky, though. You could end up with an employee who is even...

Maximum PTO Accrual Letter

Maximum PTO Accrual Letter

Encouraging employees to use their vacation days can feel strange. After all, nobody wants to leave themselves under-staffed and the rest of their team over-worked. On the other hand, what if employees rarely ever, or even never, take time off? That’s been a question facing business owners this year, as vacation plans were delayed, then cancelled, and PTO built up like never before.One problem is, PTO payout laws can turn unused PTO into an unwanted financial liability. There’s also a risk of schedule chaos down the line as everyone tries to use their days up at once. Most worrying of all is that employees who go too long without a break, even by choice, risk ending up disengaged and burned out. Download Sample Maximum PTO Accrual Letter...

How Long to Keep Payroll Records

How Long to Keep Payroll Records

Running a business, you know that compliance isn’t just about being compliant—you also need to prove it. You never know when the IRS, the DOL or the EEOC will demand to see your paperwork, which is why it’s so important to retain payroll records. To make things more complicated, each agency has its own rules for which documents you have to keep and for how long. The good news is, you don’t have to buy more filing cabinets. HR software can automatically store everything you need, with the added benefit of simplifying the whole payroll process. Why You Need to Retain Payroll Records At a federal level, you’re keeping payroll records primarily for three agencies: The IRS The Department of Labor (Wage and Hour Division) The EEOC These...