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Are out of state workers entitled to benefits?

In Continental Casualty Co. v. Ameritemp, Inc., the Appeals panel found that a Pennsylvania employer had to provide New Jersey workers’ compensation benefits to their employees who ‘occasionally traveled to New Jersey in the course of their employment.’ Also at issue was the payment of premiums to secure coverage in New Jersey.

Here are the facts regarding the employees:

  • The employees were hired in Pennsylvania;
  • The employer was located in Pennsylvania;
  • The employees lived in New Jersey; and
  • The employees occasionally traveled to New Jersey during the course of their employment.

The Pennsylvania employer did not want to pay premiums for a New Jersey workers’ compensation policy. Initially, the workers had been viewed as Pennsylvania employees, and the employer did not pay New Jersey premiums for them.

Then, two of the employees got injured at work, and filed claims for benefits in New Jersey. The court decision (cited above) resulted from that litigation.

The Judge of Compensation ruled that there were six grounds on which the applicability of a ‘specific states’ Workers’ Compensation Act could be asserted:

  1. That the local state is place where the injury occurred;
  2. That the local state is the place of the making of the contract of employment;
  3. That the local state is the place where the employment relation exists or is carried out;
  4. That the local state is the place where the industry is localized,
  5. That the local state is the place where the employee resides; or
  6. That the local state is the place whose statute the parties expressly adopted by contract.

In reviewing this particular case, the Judge found that the employees “lived in New Jersey and the employment relationship exists or is carried out in New Jersey” and so concluded that the employees could bring claims for workers’ compensation benefits under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act. The reviewing court went on to note that the employee could have brought claims for benefits under Pennsylvania law, as well. (New Jersey law allows a claimant to maintain multiple claims in any jurisdiction for injuries relating to the same accident, but that the multiple awards/settlements would be ‘set off’ against each other).

In conclusion, this case is a good restatement of the basic formulation (the ‘six factors’ laid out above) used by the New Jersey courts in determining whether a claimant is considered a ‘New Jersey’ employee for the purposes of collecting benefits available under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act.

Questions regarding this case? Contact Greg Lois.

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