Household EmployeesâNavigating Workers’ Compensation and Civil Remedies
KATHLEEN DUGGAN; JOSEPH E. RICHARDS, ESQ.; THE HON. VINCENTI BLAS; GREGORY L. CONNOR, ESQ.; GIL TABACHNIK, ESQ.
Whittier, Santa Ana, and Los Angeles, California
Picture this: a potential new client presents to applicant attorney’s office, indicating she is Paula, a nanny for the Davis family. The Davises apparently have registered with the Internal Revenue Service and the State of California as a "Household Employer," according to a check stub, which helpfully indicates both a Federal Employer Identification Number and an Employment Development Department account number. Paula does not recall whether, when she was hired around seven days ago, the Davis family provided a Labor Code section 2810.5 Department of Labor Standards Enforcement Notice; that notice would have included workers’ compensation coverage.
Yesterday, when Paula was reaching up to the cathedral ceiling for a balloon, she fell off a six-foot ladder, onto her back. As a result of the fall, Paula has piercing back pain every time she walks, sits, or stands. Paula would like some kind of compensation for her injury. To see whether there is compensation available for Paula in workers’ compensation, let us start by exploring what the term "employee" means in the context of domestic workers.