Deputy Loses Workers’ Compensation For Injury Suffered While Commuting

Thomas Maupin is a Sheriff’s deputy in Pulaski County, Arkansas. Maupin resided in nearby Perry County and commuted to work. Maupin was not paid for travel time, and had no authority to conduct official police business in Perry County.

On the day in question, Maupin was scheduled to work from 10:45 p.m. until 6:45 a.m. While driving to work at 9:50 p.m., Maupin was involved in an automobile accident in Perry County. Although he was not required to do so, Maupin was dressed in his police uniform and listening to the police radio to acquaint himself with the tactical situation before he began his shift.

The Arkansas Court of Appeals found that Maupin was not covered by the workers’ compensation system for the accident. The key legal issue was whether Maupin was performing “employment services” for Pulaski County at the time of the accident. The Court found that “given the evidence that the injury occurred before Maupin’s work shift had started, and while Maupin was outside the territorial jurisdiction of the Department by which he was employed, we hold that the Workers’ Compensation Commission could reasonably conclude that his injury was sustained at a time when employment services were not being performed.”

Maupin v. Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, 2005 WL 361747 (Ark. 2005).

This article appears in the April 2005 issue