Dorsch v. Industrial Commission

In Dorsch v. Industrial Commission, 185 Colo. 219, 523 P.2d 458 (Colo. 1974), the employee was a bartender in a ski area. In addition to an hourly wage, he received free meals and a ski pass. He was injured while skiing with the pass. The court held that he was acting within the course of his employment when he was injured and extended workers' compensation benefits to him. Dorsch, 523 P.2d at 460. In reaching this conclusion, the court provided a list of factors which, it held, should govern whether the employee acted in the course of his employment: (1) the extent to which the employer derives substantial benefit from the policy - beyond the intangible value of improvement of employee morale; (2) the extent to which the recreational activity represents compensation for employment; (3) the extent to which the obligations of employment create the special danger which precipitates the injury; (4) whether the use of the recreational activity was an inducement for employment; (5) whether the use of the recreational facility was originally contemplated by the parties at the time of employment. Id. The court found (1) the ski pass was part of the employee's compensation, (2) the use of the ski pass was contemplated by the parties from the beginning of employment, (3) the activity was an inducement for employment, and (4) the employer benefitted from offering a ski pass as part of the compensation it paid to its employees by being able to attract employees to odd-hour and remote-area employment. Id. It concluded that the existence of these four elements brought the activity within the course of employment. Id.