Second job, payment by business check don't entitle housekeeper to benefits
Case name: Alegria v. Department of Labor and Industries, No. 64162-0-I (Wash. Ct. App. 11/15/10, unpublished).
In an unpublished decision, the Washington Court of Appeals held that a worker was not entitled to compensation for her injuries that occurred while working as a babysitter and housekeeper in her employer's home.
What it means: In Washington, domestic servants who work in a private home for an employer who has less than two employees regularly working full time are not entitled to workers' compensation benefits.
Summary: A worker was employed by a couple as a housekeeper and babysitter for their infant son. For two years, she worked exclusively in the couple's home and was paid in cash. Later, she also began to work two hours per night during weekends in a nightclub owned and managed by the couple. At that time, she was paid for both jobs by a check drawn from the nightclub business. She was injured at the couple's home while working as a babysitter and housekeeper. The Washington Court of Appeals ruled that she was working as a domestic servant and was not entitled to benefits.
The housekeeper argued that she performed additional duties for the same employer at their nightclub that would be covered by the workers' compensation law. This dual employment would bring her under the law, the worker asserted. The court disagreed. The housekeeper was the only person employed in the couple's home and she was injured while working as a domestic servant. The court mentioned that the couple offered her a chance to make additional money on the weekends. The court stated that it did not matter that she might have been covered while working at the nightclub. Additionally, the fact that she was paid with a check drawn on the business did not change that she was one employee engaged in domestic service when she was injured.
The court noted that while no previous Washington cases decided the issue, other states recognize that one employer can operate two different businesses, one being subject to workers' compensation and the other not.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
January 17, 2011
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