Injury While Drinking Non-Alcoholic
Beverages On The Job

The standard to determine whether injury suffered while drinking on the job arises out of employment is whether the drinking interrupts the course of employment. If so, then the injury does not arise out of employment and vice versa. For example, injury resulting from an employee drinking water during a shift is always compensable. This is so because maintaining a hydrated body is essential for life, let alone employment, and as such is not considered to interrupt the course of employment.

In one case, an employee was injured as he consumed soda on the job. The court held that soda is sufficiently refreshing to be reasonably incidental to his employment and thus, his injury arose out of employment. Whether a particular beverage is reasonably incidental to employment, or if it instead interrupts the course of employment, depends on whether the particular employer as well as the customs of the industry permits consumption of the beverage in general. Thus, in some situations even the consumption of alcohol in moderation is within the course of employment where the employer does not prohibit it and it is customary for workers in the trade.