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Wyoming: Undocumented Worker Entitled to Compensation In Spite of Using Fraudulent ID Papers

February 20, 2015 (1 min read)







An alien who was not authorized to be or work in the United States and who obtained employment through the use of false documentation may still be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits related to a work-related injury, held the Supreme Court of Wyoming. The Court acknowledged that an injured worker had the burden of showing that at the time of injury he or she was an “employee” as that term is defined in Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 27-14-102(a)(vii). The court further acknowledged that ordinarily that definition required the worker to establish that he or she had the right to work in the United States. The Court also noted, however, that the statute had been amended in 2005 to include as employees those workers whom the employer reasonably believed were authorized to work in the U.S. Quoting Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the Court indicated the amendment was likely intended to protect employers from being sued in tort by illegal aliens who obtained employment using false documents. The Court added that, with the amendment, the legislature evidently intended to expose employers who knew they had hired illegal aliens to tort liability, perhaps as a deterrent. Here it was undisputed that the employer believed the worker was authorized to work in the U.S. when it hired him. Based on the unchallenged facts, the Court could only conclude that the worker was an “employee” at the time of his injury and, therefore, entitled to compensation.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is a leading commentator and expert on the law of workers’ compensation.

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to

See In re Claim of Arellano, 2015 WY 21, 2015 Wyo. LEXIS 23 (Feb. 18, 2015) [2015 WY 21, 2015 Wyo. LEXIS 23 (Feb. 18, 2015)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 66.03 [66.03]

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.









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