MO: Commission Rejects "Illegal Alien" Defense

MO: Commission Rejects "Illegal Alien" Defense

The employer argued that the claimant was not entitled to any benefits because she was an illegal alien.  The claimant, 42, admits she was trying to "work out" her immigration status.  She admitted crossing the Mexican border illegally 19 years earlier and that she was not naturalized but denied she was an illegal alien during her employment.   The Commission unanimously affirmed an award of benefits.  The employer offered no evidence that claimant was "illegal" during her 12 years of employment as a full-time housekeeper.

As a matter of law, the Commission construed section 287.020.1 to allow benefits to a "person" in "service" of the employer and concluded that the statute contained no exception regarding immigration status.  The employer's director of human resources admitted claimant was an employee.   The Commission found strict construction prohibited an exception when none existed without producing an absurd result.

The Commission affirmed an award for carpal tunnel syndrome and found the claimant's expert better informed about claimant's job duties cleaning 30 to 40 rooms a day.  Vega-Rivera v Hyatt, DOLIR 7-19-11.

Source: Martin Klug, Huck, Howe & Tobin. Read Martin Klug's Mo. Workers' Comp Alerts.

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