A German court ruled that a man who slipped while walking a few metres from his bed to his home office can file a claim for workplace accident insurance because he was technically ‘commuting’.
The man was working from home and on his way to his desk one floor below his bedroom, according to the decision of the federal social court, which oversees social security issues, a report in the Guardian states.
The unnamed man slipped and broke his back while walking on the spiral staircase connecting the rooms.
The court noted that the employee typically began working in his home office “immediately without having breakfast beforehand,” but did not explain why this was relevant to the case. However, it was later stated that statutory accident insurance was only available for the “first” journey to work, implying that a trip to get breakfast after already being in the home office could be rejected.
The claim was denied by the employer’s insurance. While two lower courts disagreed on whether the short trip constituted a commute, the higher federal social court declared that “the first morning journey from bed to the home office [was] an insured work route.”
“The plaintiff was injured at work when he fell on his way to his home office in the morning,” the court ruled.
“If the insured activity is carried out in the insured person’s household or at another location, insurance cover is provided to the same extent as when the activity is carried out at the company premises,” the German federal court stated.
It is unclear whether the man was working from home as a result of the pandemic or had done so previously. According to the ruling, the law applied to “teleworking positions,” which are “computer workstations that are permanently set up by the employer in the employees’ private areas.”