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Workplce Horseplay

July 19, 2007

A New Test for Workplace ‘Horseplay’

The Delaware Supreme Court recently allowed an employee injured by
horseplay on the job to bring a personal injury suit against
co-workers.

For the first time, the court has accepted the so-called “Larson test,” named for the author of a widely used treatise, Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law.

The four-part test requires consideration of the following: the
scope and seriousness of the conduct’s deviation from employment
activities, whether it was co-mingled or separate from work duties,
whether horseplay is accepted in the workplace in question, and whether
the nature of the job typically includes horseplay.

In the July 9 decision remanding the case to the lower court,
Delaware Chief Justice Myron T. Steele said the trial judge must look
at whether the co-workers’ conduct involved horseplay “outside the
scope of employment” under the Larson criteria. Stephen H. Grabowski Jr. v. William Mangler, No. 65, 2007 (Del.).

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