Bunkhouse Rule Law and Legal Definition

Bunkhouse rule refers to a legal principle making an employer liable to an injury suffered by an employee while living in the employer’s house. An employee is compensated even if the injury occurs during off-duty hours. The bunkhouse rule also provides that an employee's reasonable use of the employer's premises constitutes a portion of the employee's compensation. A bunkhouse rule is only applicable when there is some connection between the employment and the injury - an injury arising out of the reasonable use of the premises or the bunkhouse must place an employee in a peculiar danger. Thus, an injury sustained by an employee in a bunkhouse is not per se compensable. [Vaught v. State of California, 157 Cal. App. 4th 1538 (Cal. App. 4th Dist. 2007)].

The application of workers' compensation under the bunkhouse rule depends not on whether an employee had a choice to live on the premises of the employer, but rather, whether the employment agreement necessitated the employee to live on the premises. Hence, the bunkhouse rule provides extra protection to employees who live in employer provided housing.