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Court rejects independent contractor’s claim for workers compensation

A recent court case in Louisiana rejected the claim of a home care worker who was injured on the job, and filed a workers compensation claim against the individual for who she was providing care.  The court’s action was upheld by the appeals court.  This verdict opens the doors for using the Registry Model of employing caregivers as independent contractors.

Gamez v. Pinke, 2012 La. App. LEXIS 1017 (La. App. Aug. 1, 2012), involved a caregiver who alleged that she slipped and fell while performing home care for an individual, and asserted a workers’ compensation claim against the individual. The caregiver worked for the individual twelve hours per day, seven days per week; and the work consisted of bathing the individual, driving her to appointments and sitting with her.  The care recipient’s sister set the caregiver’s hours of work and issued her checks, from which no taxes were withheld. The caregiver testified that she paid her own taxes. The caregiver, while working for the care recipient, also concurrently performed housekeeping work for another person.

Attorney’s for the individual asked the court to issue a summary judgement, denying the claim.  The court agreed and issued a summary judgement dismissing the case.  The caregiver appealed, and the appeals court upheld the trial court.

This case will provide support for companies that want to use the registry model of treating their caregivers as independent contractors, and overcoming the fear that the client will be liable for injuries to caregivers and must provide workers compensation.

What is your opinion about registries versus employers of caregivers?

What is your opinion of the effects of this court case on the controversy of registries versus employers?

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