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Workers' Compensation and "Charitable Work Program" Employees

Who is an employee for purposes of workers' compensation?

• Is a homeless person who is paid $5 per hour by a church for performing miscellaneous services as part of a "charitable work program" an employee covered by state workers compensation law? Yes, concluded a California appeals court. A Baptist church operated a charitable program for homeless or transient persons. Sometimes, the church made small payments directly to needy individuals. In other cases, when persons "wished to maintain their dignity and asked to do work," the church would attempt to find work for them to do (generally at a rate of $5 per hour). Most persons worked at most a day. However, one individual worked for nearly 4 weeks, performing a variety of tasks including roofing, gardening, digging, drywall work, painting, and laying a carpet. This individual sustained serious injuries when he fell off a ladder while doing roofing work. The victim later asserted that he ...

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Posted:
  • May 1, 1992

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