Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches
Workers Compensation
A Louisiana court upheld the denial of workers compensation benefits to an injured worker who had been seen performing compensated services for a church.
Key point 8-02. All states have enacted workers compensation laws to provide benefits to employees who are injured or become ill in the course of their employment. Benefits generally are financed through insurance premiums paid by employers. Churches are subject to workers compensation laws in most states.

Workers Compensation

* A Louisiana court upheld the denial of workers compensation benefits to an injured worker who had been seen performing compensated services for a church. An employee ('Gary') of a company was injured in a work-related accident. Since the accident, Gary was under the care of various physicians for evaluation and treatment of his injuries. He eventually was awarded workers compensation benefits based on a finding of disability. His employer provided for these benefits by paying worker compensation insurance premiums to an insurance company (the 'insurer'). The insurer hired a private investigator to conduct surveillance on Gary. The investigator filmed Gary engaging in activities that he claimed he could not do. One of the surveillance tapes showed Gary working at a church. Based on this evidence, the insurer terminated Gary's benefits on the basis of his knowingly false descriptions of his injuries. Gary also filed a claim in which he argued that the insurer unreasonably terminated his benefits. A workers compensation judge found that Gary had intentionally misrepresented his abilities for the purpose of bolstering his entitlement to workers compensation benefits, and it ruled that he thereby forfeited any entitlement to benefits.

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