Case name: Gamez v. Pinke, No. 2012-CA-0566 (La. Ct. App. 08/01/12).
Ruling: The Louisiana Court of Appeal held that a sitter was not entitled to benefits because she was an independent contractor.
What it means: In Louisiana, a person injured while performing services arising out of and incidental to her own employment in the course of her own trade, business, or occupation should seek benefits from her own workers' compensation provider.
Summary: A sitter provided housekeeping and other services to a 99-year-old woman. The sitter bathed the woman, drove her to appointments, and sat with her because she could not be alone. The woman's sister dictated the sitter's hours and issued her paycheck. The sister did not withhold taxes. The sitter also performed housekeeping work for another person during the time she worked for the woman.
The sitter slipped and fell in the woman's home, injuring her knee. She was unable to work for some time after the accident. She sought workers' compensation from the woman. The Louisiana Court of Appeal held that she was not entitled to benefits.
The sitter asserted that she was an employee and that she was injured in the course and scope of her employment. The woman argued that she was not the sitter's employer because she was not engaged in a trade, business, or occupation. The court agreed, finding that the sitter was an independent contractor. The court explained that hiring a sitter does not equate with entering the home health care trade, business, or occupation.
The sitter argued that she was performing services arising out of her employment in the course of her own trade, business, or occupation. The court explained that the law's intent was for a person injured while performing services arising out of her own employment in the course of her own trade, business, or occupation was to seek compensation from her own workers' compensation provider.
The court also found that an exemption for employees who provide labor, work, or services to a private residential householder did not apply to the sitter because she earned more than $1,000 annually.
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October 8, 2012
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