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

How to Pay 1099 Employees

How to Pay 1099 Employees

As the gig economy grows more employers are looking to hire independent contractors (aka 1099 workers). But since paying independent contractors isn’t a walk in the park, many employers are looking for step-by-step instructions. Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know: How Do I Pay a 1099 Worker? This subject is something you will need to discuss in detail with the person you’re hiring for the job. Often, they will have a written contract that stipulates how and when they should be paid. The two most common methods of payment are hourly and by the job or project. Some independent contractors — such as attorneys — prefer to be paid on retainer, which means you pay them a lump sum at the beginning of each month in return for a...

States with Salary History Bans

States with Salary History Bans

Requesting job applicants’ salary histories has been a pretty common practice for employers over the years. Recruiters and hiring managers often use this knowledge to exclude people from the candidate pool, either because the applicant is “too expensive” or their previous salary is so low, hiring managers think the person is poorly qualified or inexperienced.Businesses have also used previous salary information to calculate new hire compensation—a process that can perpetuate pay disparity between women and men. To address this inequality, several states and municipalities have enacted bans on asking for previous salary information, although laws vary in terms, scope and applicability. The states and territories that have enacted salary...

Case Study: Buy Sod

Case Study: Buy Sod

Buy Sod Inc. Partners with Paycor to Pay Employees & Maintain Tax Compliance “Because we’re a niche company, our administrators sometimes have trouble uncovering and implementing best practices. But when we partnered with Paycor they brought the expertise and thought leadership to help us overcome tough challenges like the new EEO-1 report. Paycor has the patience, knowledge and resources to help us stay ahead of problems and grow.” - Jennifer Hillard, Director of People and Culture Why Buy Sod Inc. Chose Paycor In 2002, three family businesses came together to create a network of sod farms that operate and distribute around the country. But with ten locations and eighteen different payrolls to process, Buy Sod Inc. struggled to...

Webinar: Compliance in 2020: What You Need to Know

Webinar: Compliance in 2020: What You Need to Know

A new year brings new compliance issues employers should be monitoring at the federal, state and local levels. To help your organization prepare for what’s ahead, our compliance team will outline key changes in 2020 and trends in the areas of payroll, tax and HR compliance.Speakers: Arlene Baker and James SchwantesArlene Baker is a Senior Compliance Analyst with over 40 years of payroll and tax experience. She’s a member of the National Payroll Reporting Consortium focusing on IRS compliance, and she’s been a member of the national and local APA for 25 years. In 2003, Arlene was awarded the Ohio Payroll Professional of the Year award. James Schwantes is a Compliance Analyst with a legal and tax background. Prior to working at Paycor in...