Accident insurance protection: Federal Social Court puts company celebrations under protection

Accident insurance protection: Federal Social Court puts company celebrations under protection

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Accident insurance protection also at departmental celebrations of a company
Kassel (jur). Company parties improve the working atmosphere and are usually protected by statutory accident insurance. According to a judgment of the Federal Social Court (BSG) in Kassel on Tuesday, July 5, 2016, accident protection must in principle also be granted if employees of a single department carry out a celebration “in agreement” with the company or departmental management (file number: B 2 U 19/14 R). The presence of the boss is then not necessary, a celebrating department or team leader is sufficient, according to the Kassel judge. They are moving away from their previous case law.

A social security assistant at Deutsche Rentenversicherung Hessen had sued. Their office in Kassel is subdivided with 230 employees in several subject areas. In 2008, the head of department agreed with the department heads that each department could hold its own Christmas party.

The appointment must be coordinated with the office management, and the Christmas party should not start before 12 noon. For their participation, the employees received a time credit equal to ten percent of the weekly working hours.

The applicant's department organized its own Christmas party on October 9, 2010, which included a hike. The woman slipped and suffered a bruise on the right elbow and wrist. She wanted the accident to be recognized as an accident at work.

The responsible administrative professional association rejected this. Accident protection exists for corporate events. However, this was not a joint event of the Kassel office, but rather only a Christmas party for the individual department. The agency management has not invited all employees to the celebration, nor has it carried it out as a separate event. Also, none of the agency management attended the Christmas party. However, this is a prerequisite for accident insurance protection.

The BSG has now made it clear that for the insurance protection of company parties, these must be carried out “in agreement” with the head of department or the company management. For such an “agreement”, it is sufficient that the employer gives the individual departments or teams permission to organize the celebrations themselves and stipulate further requirements, such as the start or the issue of time credits.

However, it is not necessary for the boss himself to be present at every department party, according to the 2nd BSG Senate. It is sufficient that the responsible department or team leader takes part in the Christmas party and the celebration was open to all employees of the respective team. In this way, too, “the closeness and the sense of community of the employees in the respective subject area or team would be promoted”.

According to the BSG, these requirements were met. The actual number of partiers is not important.

Already on June 26, 2014, the BSG accident senate had decided that company celebrations with colleagues must always be arranged by the superior or the boss (Az .: B 2 U 7/13 R; JurAgentur report from the judgment day). On the other hand, if a supervisor wishes only “a lot of fun” and “good luck”, this is not enough to assume an official company event. The Kassel judges dismissed the complaint from a job center employee who had held a Christmas party with her department.

Author and source information

Video: A Conversation with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg 59 (July 2022).


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