April 8, 2024
by David White

Oregon Board finds “going and coming” rule does not apply to worker crossing street to retrieve work clothes from her vehicle

A recent Oregon Workers’ Compensation Board case, In re Cambria Souza, 76 Van Natta 130 (2024), found a workers’ injury compensable where they were hurt crossing a public street to retrieve work clothing from their car.

Cambria involved an Oregon restaurant server who parker her car in a public lot across the street from the restaurant where she worked. After entering the restaurant and clocking in, claimant realized she’d left her required apron in her car. Black aprons were provided/required by the employer, and employees were expected to take their aprons home to be washed. Unable to find a spare apron, she went back to her care to retrieve it. While crossing the street she was hit by a truck and taken to the hospital. Her claim was initially denied on the grounds her injury did not arise out of or occur in the course of her employment.

Following a hearing, an ALJ upheld the denial after determining the “going and coming” rule applied and therefore her injury did not occur in the course of employment. On review, the Board reversed the ALJ and concluded the claim was compensable.

The Board’s decision was based on a determination that the “going and coming rule” did not apply. In doing so, it noted the “going and coming “ rule does not apply when a worker is working or otherwise subject to an employers direction and control. With respect to Cambria, the Board explained claimant was “on the clock” and performing a task reasonably incidental to her employment at the time of injury. Even if the “going and coming” rule did apply, the Board indicated claimant’s  return to her vehicle to retrieve her apron qualified as a “special errand” exception to the rule because it was in furtherance of the employers business. Given the facts and circumstances surrounding claimant’s injury, the Board ultimately held claimant’s injury arose out of and in the course of her employment.

The case is a good reminder that compensability decisions surround the “going and coming” rule are very fact specific and small details can change the outcome.

Have a question about a the “going and coming” rule? Please do not hesitate to contact me at or (503) 595 6110.

Posted by David White.