Public Officials And Servants As Employees

With only slight variation between state statutes, workers’ compensation benefits generally extend to public servants, but not to public officials. A public official is distinguishable from a public servant by the official's power of discretion as well as by his ability to perform his duties independent of supervision. For example, an ordinary highway worker is considered a public servant, and therefore an employee eligible for benefits. He labors under the supervision of a county superintendent of highways, which by virtue of his supervisory status, is considered a public official.

Many states specifically include peace officers, including police officers and sheriff’s deputies, within the definition of employee in their workers’ compensation acts. Additionally, many states include firefighters and volunteer firefighters as being eligible for benefits.