WFH morning commutes can cause injuries, a court case finds

That errant toy fire engine is just as much a part of your daily commute as the real one that makes its way through traffic with sirens blaring.

That’s according to a ruling by a German court.

The Federal Social Court found that a man who hurt himself en route from his bedroom to his home office should be covered by his employer’s insurance.

“[W]alking the stairs to the home office was only used to start work for the first time and is therefore insured as a service in the interests of the employer,” the decision reads in part.

The man, an area sales manager for R-GmbH who was not identified in the press release, was walking on the spiral staircase that connects the rooms in September 2018 when he slipped and broke a thoracic vertebra, according to the German court’s website.

The defendant, insurance provider BGHW, refused to cover the incident, which then sparked the lawsuit.

Although the accident predated the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it could prove instructive on future cases with so many more people now working from home. In an effort to stem the most recent wave of the virus, German officials have been encouraging people to work from home whenever possible.