A Clash of Policy Interests: Child Labor Law Violations and Workers’ Compensation Tort Immunity
21 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2018
Date Written: November 5, 2018
There is a current circuit spit in Louisiana. The issue: whether a minor hired in violation of the Child Labor Law can sue his employer in tort, notwithstanding the “exclusivity” of workers’ compensation. While the First and Fourth Circuits bar such suits, the Second and Third Circuits provide an injured, illegally employed minor with an election of remedies. This Paper, with the support of multiple legal commentators and judicial opinions from other American states, argues that the former result is grossly inequitable. A minor should be allowed to tacitly invoke the relative nullity of the employment contract, and to seek tort damages for his injures. This result correctly prioritizes the policy interests implicated by the Child Labor Law above that of the workers’ compensation system. Moreover, this result avoids the anomaly of rewarding employers who violate the Child Labor Law with tort immunity, and also serves as an effective economic incentive for employers to comply with the law.
Keywords: Child Labor, Workers' Compensation, Louisiana, Law, Labor, Tort, Circuit Split
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