The status of domestic help in the Workers’ Compensation Court has been a matter of much debate in litigation over the years. Several recent cases have clarified the relationship between domestic help and the homeowner in the event of a work related injury.
In general, an individual who holds themselves out as domestic help for hire by multiple homeowners is considered to be an independent contractor and, therefore, in the event of injury cannot claim benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Section of the homeowner’s insurance policy. This also means that the homeowner may be liable for damages to the domestic help for injuries resulting from the homeowner’s negligence. A similar situation arises when an employer asks an employee to perform personal tasks for the employer such as work at his home. The Courts have looked to an employer’s supervisory power, his right to control the activities of an employee, provision of tools and equipment and payment of regular wages as factors in determining employment. The Courts have held in that situation in which the worker was an employee of the company even though he performed work at the boss’s home.