Case name: Williamson v. Crossroads Programs, Inc., No. A-6048-09T1 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 05/19/11, unpublished).
Ruling: In an unpublished decision, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division held that a foster parent was not entitled to benefits because she was not an employee of the foster care program.
What it means:
In New Jersey, evidence that a worker maintained day-to-day control of her job, did not receive equipment from the alleged employer, and the employer did not have the right to terminate employment shows that the worker was not an employee of the employer.
Summary: A foster parent to a 13-year-old attended a training seminar presented by a therapeutic foster care program. While ascending the steps to the meeting, the parent fell, shattering her left patella and injuring her lower back. She sought workers' compensation benefits. The program denied an employment relationship with the parent. The New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division held that the parent was not entitled to benefits.
The court said that during orientation for foster parents, the program advised that the parents are not its employees, and that the reimbursement they received was not taxable and not considered income. Also, the parent was not required to attend that specific training session.
The parent argued that she did not have total control over her day-to-day role as a foster parent. She also said the program received a direct benefit from her state licensure as a foster parent, and that the program assisted her both in securing and maintaining that license. The program contended that the parent maintained autonomy in exercising her day-to-day responsibilities. The court concluded that the parent was not an employee of the program. The program did not provide her with equipment and did not have a right to terminate her status as a foster care provider.
Additionally, the parent could not show a substantial economic dependence on the program because she was required to show financial independence to be approved as a foster parent. The court said the parent's claim of dependence could suggest she should no longer qualify as a foster care provider.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
July 7, 2011
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