Q & A Session – Liability for Activity on Federal Property Outside of Working Hours


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


I have become aware of a civilian employee who comes to work about an hour early in order to use the shower in our federal building. She is not on the clock or compensated for this time. If she is on federal property outside of working hours and is somehow injured, who is liable?

Also, are there any federal regulations that state employees may not be at their place of work outside of working hours?


I know of no federal regulation that prohibits employees from being at their place of work outside work hours. Individual agencies or worksites might have such rules.

Workers compensation entitlement is based on being injured while performing work. Slipping and falling in the shower at work an hour before the work day starts does not seem to fit that definition, but there could be special circumstances (e.g., law enforcement who perform physical training as part of their jobs) that might justify a workers compensation award.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.

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