Ridesharing Act and Workers’ Compensation Claims
May 7, 2021
By Richard P. Gaitens, Esquire
In Aguirre v. A&T Cleaning Co. (WCAB), The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) had to determine if the Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) had erred in deciding that the injured worker’s accident fell under the Ridesharing Act and she was therefore unable to claim Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Ms. Aguirre worked as a housecleaner for A&T Cleaning Company. The Company would pick up a group of employees and transport them to all the locations where they would be working that day. Ms. Aguirre sustained a spinal injury in a collision as a passenger on the way to the first house to be cleaned.
The Ridesharing Act says that “the Workers’ Compensation Act, shall not apply to a passenger injured while participating in a ridesharing arrangement between the passenger’s place of residence and place of employment. The Ridesharing Act also applies to ridesharing arrangements such as carpools or vanpools used to transport employees to or from their place of employment. However, the Claimant argued that she had no fixed place of employment but was a traveling employee. The transportation, provided by the employer, was not intended to be a traditional carpool. It was, in fact, a benefit to the employer to transport not only the workers but also the cleaning supplies to each work site. The WCAB agreed with this line of reasoning and remanded the case to the WJC to allow the litigation claim to proceed.
What does this mean? The Ridesharing Act precludes an injured worker from making a Workers’ Compensation claim if the worker is injured in a carpool or vanpool that transports employees to a place of work. However, if the employee is a traveling employee and the transportation does not meet this scenario, the injured worker may still be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits.