October 9, 2023
Can an injured worker collect workers’ compensation benefits if his back injury came about because his manager cracked his back for him following a double shift?
The District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District overturned a judge’s ruling that granted benefits to the worker because there wasn’t enough evidence to support a work-related injury.
Jonathan Haselden worked as a grill cook at Waffle House. On June 15, 2019, after working an 18-hour shift, Haselden experienced severe pain in his lower back.
When his manager arrived that morning, Haselden told him that he hadn’t been able to take any real breaks during the double shift, leading to the back pain. This led to both men agreeing that popping or cracking Haselden’s back could relieve some of the pain. Haselden couldn’t remember if it was him or his manager that came up with this idea.
The manager had Haselden place his hands behind his head with his fingers interlaced while the manager pushed down on Haselden’s elbows. After the “procedure,” Haselden didn’t notice any immediate changes. He went home immediately after.
Later that day, Haselden couldn’t stand up straight and had nerve pains running down his leg. He tried to return to work that evening, but he had to leave after two hours due to his back pain. Haselden was terminated two weeks later.