Cleaning Personnel As Employees

The rule characterizing cleaning service workers as employees is different for those who clean places of business and those who clean homes. In the context of a business, the removal of garbage and dirt is considered part of the trade of operating a store because it is done on a regular basis. Therefore, those who clean on a business property are included under most workers’ compensation statutes.

However, domestic cleaning laborers are generally not considered employees of the homeowner or occupier for whom he cleans. The same is true for any type of worker hired to perform occasional duties in a private home, such as a plumber or a teenager hired to mow a lawn. This is because unlike a business owner, a homeowner is unlikely to expect or be prepared to handle the potentially massive liability for injury.

Nonetheless, the more consistently a homeowner employs workers to perform the same type of duties, the more likely it is that he foresees injury to those workers as well as liability for such injury. I believe that the purpose of workers’ compensation law would be well served if coverage extends to workers in a domestic setting when injury is foreseeable to the employer.