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What Does Course And Scope of Employment mean?

Course and scope of employment is defined in the Texas Labor Code as an activity of any kind or character that has to do with and originates in the work, business, trade, or profession of the employer and that is performed by an employee while engaged in or about the furtherance of the affairs or business of the employer.  The term includes an activity conducted on the premises of the employer or at other locations.

So, your normal work activities are considered to be in the course and scope of your employment. This is true whether you perform your job duties on the employer’s property or at a client’s site, or even at home.

What Does Course And Scope Of Employment Have To Do With My Texas Workers’ Comp Claim?

In Texas, an insurance company can deny your workers’ compensation claim if the injury did not occur in the course and scope of your employment.  This a common denial.  Picking up a box off of a pallet to stock a shelf is an example of an activity that usually occurs in the course and scope.  If a construction worker falls off of the scaffolding at the worksite, then that is usually within the course and scope of employment. 

Sometimes it is hard to tell if the activity you were doing was within the course and scope or not.  For instance, packing a bag at home to go on a business trip is probably not in the course and scope of employment.  Pulling a prank on a co-worker, even while on the clock, is also probably not in the course and scope. 

Getting into a fistfight with a co-worker because he stole your work tools is within the course and scope of your employment.  Fighting a co-worker because he made a disparaging comment about your spouse is not.  Driving to work is not in the course and scope, but driving from one jobsite to another usually is.

As you can see, course and scope of employment can sometimes be easy to figure out, but at other times it’s hard to say. 

What If My Claim Was Denied Because of Course And Scope?

There are two things I suggest.  One is that you talk to a workers’ comp attorney.  Because it can be hard to figure out whether the activity you were performing at the time of your injury was within the course and scope, it doesn’t hurt to get a professional opinion. This should be a free consultation.

Second, you will have to request a Benefit Review Conference to get the denial overturned.  Your case will have to go through the litigation process to get benefits paid. This can be a an overwhelming ordeal. We have written a book for Texas injured workers to help them navigate the workers’ comp system. Get your FREE copy right here – The Ultimate Survival Guide For Texas Injured Workers: Everything You Need To Know To Beat Insurance Companies At Their Games.