The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld a Polk County District Court ruling that denied a man workers compensation benefits for an injury he sustained at a company bowling party. Robert Powell sought workers compensation saying he injured his back at a bowling party set up by the employee activity committee of his employer Gazette Communications, so it was work related. He reinjured his back nine days later while at his job, and also sought compensation for that injury.

A workers compensation commissioner turned down Powell’s request saying it was not a mandatory event, it was not held on company property, and there was not a substantial benefit to the company from the event other than building morale. The commissioner also said the second injury was merely an aggravation of the first injury caused by heavy lifting when Powell returned to work.

Powell appealed and another compensation commissioner ruled the bowling event did provide a benefit to the company and should be covered under workman’s comp. The district court threw out the compensation commissioner’s ruling, saying the commissioner misinterpreted the rules. The Iowa Court of Appeals said it affirms the district court ruling in all respects.

See the entire ruling here: Bowling case PDF