The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act (the “Act”) defines “employee” as “every person engaged in an employment under any appointment, contract of hire or apprenticeship, express or implied, oral or written…, but excludes a person whose employment is both casual and not in the course of the trade, business, profession or occupation of his employer…” Further, the Act defines “employment” to include “employment by the State, all political subdivisions thereof, all public and quasi-public corporations therein and all private employments in which four or more employees are regularly employed in the same business or establishment.
Next, the Act also deals with legally and illegally hired aliens, minors, and certain prisoners injured while in private employment. In Curiel v. Environmental Management Services, the Court held that the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) did not preempt state law to preclude benefits under the Act. The Act was amended in 1976, to allow sole proprietors and partners of a business whose employees are eligible for benefits to elect to be included as employees if (1) they are actively engaged in the operation of the business and (2) they notify the insurer of their election.
Third, State officers and employees are also specifically covered unless they are on the General Assembly, or appointed by the Governor. Officers and employees of municipal organizations and political subdivisions of the State will be included minus those who are (1) elected by either the people, council, or other governing body of the municipal corporation or political subdivision; (2) who serve in strictly administrative capacities, and (3) who serve for a definite term of office.
Finally, the definition of the term “employee” also includes members of the State and National Guard while they are “performing duties in connection with the membership except duty performed pursuant to Title 10 of the United States Code. And, the only employees who are exempt from the Act are listed in Sections 42-1-360 and 42-1-370, and they may elect to come under the Act, and later may chose to withdraw. To withdraw however, the employer may give notice in writing to the Commission or to his insurer who must then give notice to the Commission.
Therefore, these little idiosyncrasies can affect how one is classified under the Workers’ Compensation Act in South Carolina. This is why it is so imperative that when you have a WC claim, to find lawyers who have been in the game for over 20 years. At Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP, we have the experience necessary to succeed in a workers’ compensation claim. So, if you or a loved one has a question, call our Baxter Village office in Fort Mill, South Carolina to schedule a consultation. You can reach us at 803-548-4444, or toll-free at 877-548-5999. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can.