Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane Partner Speaks on Horseplay in the Workplace at the MACRS Kevin J. Regan Fall Conference.
Katherine A. Hesse, a partner with Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, presented alongside an esteemed all-female legal panel at the Massachusetts Association of Contributory Retirement Systems’ Annual Kevin J. Regan Fall Conference on October 1, 2019 in Springfield, Massachusetts. This conference serves the primary mission of the Massachusetts Association of Contributory Retirement Systems, which is to preserve, strengthen and educate the 104 public retirement systems of the Commonwealth while promoting the rights and benefits of our respective members, present or future, and to uphold the public interest in the proper administration of contributory retirement systems. Topics presented by the panel included: Splitting the Option D Benefit, Heart Presumption and Essential Duties, Accidental Disability and Horseplay, Group Classification Issues, and the Impact of Mediation Awards and Settlements.
Ms. Hesse’s presentation focused largely around accidental disability retirement, and its strict standards relative to causation. There are several criteria which must be met in order for an employee to qualify for accidental disability retirement, the first of which being that said employee must be injured “while in the performance” of his or her duties. This injury must result in the employee being unable to perform the essential duties of his/her job. The inability to perform must be likely to be permanent. The disability must also be by reason of a personal injury sustained or a hazard undergone as a result of, and while in the performance of the member’s duties at some definite time and place. However, the most crucial piece, and the main focus of Katherine’s presentation concentrated on the portion of the statute which reads, “without serious and willful misconduct on the member’s part.” She went on to present several Massachusetts cases that illustrated how horseplay in the workplace could disqualify an individual from qualifying for accidental disability.