Employee Phone Calls and Personal Comfort Doctrine–Texas Workers’ Compensation Defense Attorneys

Does It Apply When An Employee Makes A Personal Phone Call?
Yeldell v. Holiday Hills Retirement And Nursing Center, Inc., 701 S.W.2d 243 (Tex. 1985), December 11, 1985
During Yeldell’s regular shift and while at her duty station, she called her daughter. As she hung up the telephone, the cord became entangled with a coffee urn that overturned and spilled on her, resulting in serious burns.
Holiday Hills contended that the personal telephone call was a deviation which took Yeldell out of the course and scope of her employment.
The court found that an employee need not have been engaged in the discharge of any specific duty incident to his employment; rather, an employee in the course of his employment may perform acts of a personal nature that a person might reasonably do for his health and comfort, such as quenching thirst or relieving hunger; such acts are considered incidental to the employee’s service and the injuries sustained while doing so arise in the course and scope of his employment and are compensable. Making a personal telephone call during working hours may be as essential as a rest period or a refreshment break. In particular, a parent’s telephone call to a minor child at bedtime is as reasonably necessary to a workers’ well-being as quenching one’s thirst or relieving hunger.


Williams, McClure & Parmelee is dedicated to high quality legal representation of businesses and insurance companies in a variety of matters. We are experienced Texas civil litigation attorneys based in Fort Worth who know Texas courts and Texas law. For more information, please contact the law firm at 817-335-8800. The firm’s new office location is 5601 Bridge Street, Suite 300, Fort Worth, Texas 76112.

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