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OFF BEAT: Cup of coffee packs a punch for worker


An Australian man who was punched in the arm by a coworker over a cup of hot coffee was denied workers compensation.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal threw out Michael Ralser’s claim for compensation for physical injuries resulting from the caffeinated confrontation because the injury did not occur during Mr. Ralser’s employment, according to news reports.

In December 2009, Mr. Ralser and four colleagues at the Australian Taxation Office in Canberra went to a café for their midmorning coffee when an argument broke out with his then-colleague Dieter Tietz after both men tried to claim a mug of coffee.

Mr. Ralser reportedly stuck his finger in the mug and flicked coffee on Mr. Teitz, who subsequently punched him in the arm.

A workers comp claim was filed in 2010 by Mr. Ralser where he claimed mental and physical injuries and workplace bullying and harassment, according the Canberra Times.

According to the news report, Mr. Ralser said he got “dead arm” from the incident along with persistent pain and a whiplash-type injury to the spine.

While the tribunal rejected the physical injury claim, they reportedly found that Mr. Ralser suffered psychologically after the incident because of his perception of being bullied in the workplace and should be compensated for that injury.

Morning lines at coffeehouses can be grueling, but you shouldn’t have to beat them to the punch for your cup of joe.

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