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Illegally Employed Minor Still Subject to Workers' Compensation as Exclusive Remedy
Description The Kentucky high court held that an illegally employed minor, who suffered serious injury on the job, could not sue his employer in tort. The state workers' compensation statute clearly includes minors whether employed legally or not.
Topic Employment Law
Key Words Workers' Compensation; Minor; Illegal Employment
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Roberts, age 15, was working for Hill when his hand was crushed by heavy machinery. He notified Hill that he was rejecting workers' compensation and filed a tort suit. Hill contended that the exclusivity provisions of the Workers' Compensation Act barred the tort suit. Roberts contends that he was illegally employed by Hill, since minors are forbidden by law from operating dangerous machinery, so the Workers' Compensation Act does not apply to his employment. The trial court dismissed the suit. Roberts appealed.
Decision Affirmed. The legislature specifically rejected tort liability against employers in adopting workers' compensation, and that law applies to minors, even if illegally employed. The statute states: "Every person, including a minor, whether lawfully or unlawfully employed..." is subject to the Workers' Compensation Act, so Roberts does not have the option of filing a tort suit.
Citation Roberts v. George W. Hill & Co., 23 S.W.3d 635 (Sup. Ct., Ky., 2000)

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