Court Says Employer Is Liable in Parking Lot Injury

By Staff Report

Dec. 16, 2009

Union Pacific Railroad Co. is liable under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act for a conductor injured while walking from a company-owned parking lot to an office where he was to report for work, the Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled.

The ruling was handed down December 11 in Glenn T. Holsapple Jr. v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., a case that stemmed from a knee injury Holsapple suffered in 2006 after stepping into a hole while walking through a city-owned alleyway linking the parking lot and the office.

Holsapple sued Union Pacific for damages under the FELA, alleging negligence and that he was injured while performing “a duty necessarily incident to his employment,” court records state.

But a district court granted the railroad’s motion for summary judgment, concluding that Holsapple’s injury occurred before he was to report to work and was outside the scope of his employment.

The Supreme Court overturned the lower court, ruling that Holsapple was injured within close proximity to the office and the injury occurred as a necessary incident of his workday. The high court also said he was exposed to risks not shared by the general public, because Union Pacific strategically placed signs restricting the alleyway’s use to railroad employees.

“And in doing so, Union Pacific has effectively encouraged its employees to use the alleyway,” the court said.

It remanded the case for further proceedings.

Filed by Roberto Ceniceros of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

Stay informed and connected. Get human resources news and HR features via Workforce Management’s Twitter feed or RSS feeds for mobile devices and news readers.




blog workforce

We build robust scheduling & attendance software for businesses with 500+ frontline workers. With custom BI reporting and demand-driven scheduling, we help our customers reduce labor spend and increase profitability across their business. It's as simple as that.

Book a call
See the software

Related Articles

workforce blog


Minimum Wage by State in 2022 – All You Need to Know

Summary The federal minimum wage rate is $7.25, but the rate is higher in 30 states, along with Washing...

federal law, minimum wage, pay rates, state law, wage law compliance

workforce blog


California’s push for a 32-hour workweek explained, and how to prepare

Summary: California is considering a 32-hour workweek bill for businesses with over 500 staff 4 day wee...

32 hour workweek, 4 day workweek, california, legislature, overtime

workforce blog


A business owner’s guide to restaurant tipping law

Business owners in the restaurant industry are in a unique position when it comes to employee tips. As ...

restaurants, tip laws, tipping