Housekeeper not a company employee, cannot obtain workers' compensation
Case name: Cavazos v. Southern Construction Supply, Inc., No. 08-863 (La. Ct. App. 12/11/08).
Ruling: The Louisiana Court of Appeal upheld the dismissal of an employee's claim for workers' compensation benefits. The employee was not entitled to benefits because she was a domestic employee, not an employee of the company that paid her.
What it means: A domestic employee is not entitled to workers' compensation benefits in Louisiana. The fact that she is paid by an entity rather than the couple who hired her does not change her eligibility for benefits.
Summary: The claimant was working as a babysitter and cleaning lady at a residence when she fell while trying to repair a toy. She was being paid through her employers' company rather than from the employers directly as a convenience to the parties, as they were often gone and the company office was located next door to the residence. The claimant also cleaned the company office a couple of hours per week.
After her injury, the claimant sought workers' compensation benefits from the company. She claimed that she was an employee of the company because it paid her, the company president hired her, and it exercised control over the details of her employment.
The Court of Appeal upheld the dismissal of her claim, finding that as a domestic employee, she was not eligible for benefits under Louisiana law. The fact that she was employed by the president of the company did not mean that the president acted in that capacity when dealing with her.
The court pointed out that although there is a presumption under Louisiana law that a person rendering service for another in any trade, business or occupation is an employee for workers' compensation purposes, the employer may rebut that presumption. Employees hired to perform labor, work, or services for a private residential household "in connection with the private residential premises of such householder" are exempt from workers' compensation coverage. Because the claimant's primary function was as a housekeeper, she was not entitled to workers' compensation benefits.
January 29, 2009
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