Quick Hit: N.J. Rules for ‘In the Course of Employment’

26 Nov, 2023 Frank Ferreri


Jersey City, NJ (WorkersCompensation.com) -- Those who read today's What Do You Think feature got an understanding of the "authorized vehicle rule" in New Jersey.

That is just one of four rules Garden State courts apply to determine whether an employee is acting in the course of her employment when an injury occurs but it's not entirely clear whether she was on or off the job.

Here's a look at those rules.

Premises rule. Under this rule, employment shall be deemed to commence when an employee arrives at the employer's place of employment to report for work and shall terminate when the employee leaves the employer's place of employment, excluding areas not under the control of the employer.

The premises rule establishes that, although an injury to an employee that happens going to or coming from work is generally not compensable, such injury arises out of and in the course of employment, and is therefore compensable, if it takes place on the employer's premises.

Applying the premises rule requires courts to answer:

(1) Where was the situs of the accident?
(2) Did the employer have control of the property on which the accident occurred?

Special mission rule. Under this rule, when the employee is required by the employer to be away from the employer's place of employment, the employee shall be deemed to be in the course of employment when the employee is engaged in the direct performance of duties assigned or directed by the employer.

The special mission rule allows for compensation when employees are required to be away from the conventional place of employment if actually engaged in the direct performance of employment duties.

Under the special mission rule, the duties must be assigned or directed by the employer.

Paid travel time rule. Under the “paid travel time rule,” when the employee's injury is sustained while going to and from a job site separate from the place of employment and the employee is paid for the time spent in traveling, the employee is covered.

Authorized vehicle rule. Under this rule, the employment of an employee who uses an employer authorized vehicle shall commence and terminate with the authorized operation of a vehicle on business authorized by the employer. The rule applies when both of the following conditions are met:

(1) The employer authorizes a vehicle for operation by the employee.
(2) The employee's operation of the identified vehicle is for business expressly authorized by the employer.

New Jersey content on WorkersCompensation.com is brought to you by Horizon Casualty Services, Inc.

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    About The Author

    • Frank Ferreri

      Frank Ferreri, M.A., J.D. covers workers' compensation legal issues. He has published books, articles, and other material on multiple areas of employment, insurance, and disability law. Frank received his master's degree from the University of South Florida and juris doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Frank encourages everyone to consider helping out the Kind Souls Foundation and Kids' Chance of America.

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