Are Out-of-State Employees Covered by Minnesota’s Workers’ Compensation Laws?

Employees of Minnesota companies who are injured outside the state may be entitled to Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits under certain circumstances.  Employees of out-of-state companies who are injured while working in Minnesota may also be covered by Minnesota workers’ compensation laws.  When injuries happen, it is important for employers to know which laws apply.

Employees with out-of-state connections may be entitled to Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits in three scenarios:

  • Extraterritorial Application:  If an employee who regularly performs the primary duties of his or her employment within Minnesota receives an injury while outside of the state in the employ of the same employer, Minnesota’s workers’ compensation laws apply.  This does not apply if the transfer outside of the state is permanent.
  • Temporary Out-of-State Employment:  If an employee hired in Minnesota by a Minnesota employer receives an injury while temporarily employed outside of the state, Minnesota’s workers’ compensation laws apply.  To determine whether an employer is a “Minnesota employer,” courts consider whether the employer has officers, operations, or facilities in Minnesota.  The employer does not need to be incorporated in Minnesota to be a “Minnesota employer.”
  • Out-of-State Employees:  An employee who regularly performs work outside of Minnesota, but is injured within Minnesota, may be covered by Minnesota’s workers’ compensation laws if the employee chooses to forgo any workers’ compensation claims that the employee have the right to pursue in a different state.

See Minn. Stat. § 176.041, Subd. 2–4.

According to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, determining whether someone is “temporarily employed outside of Minnesota” requires looking at the length of employment and whether the employee is expected to return to Minnesota.  The Minnesota Supreme Court has held that, for the purposes of this law, “temporarily” means “not of long duration, not permanent, but for a short time.”  The court has also said that if an employee goes to a different state regularly, he or she could still be “temporarily” outside of Minnesota if he or she was hired in the state by a Minnesota employer.  Fischer v. Malleable Iron Range Co., 225 N.W.2d 542 (Minn. 1975).

The State of Minnesota has a guide concerning extra-territorial application of Minnesota’s workers’ compensation laws, which is available here.

Takeaway:  Minnesota’s workers’ compensation laws may extend beyond the borders of the state under certain circumstances.  Minnesota employers who send employees on out-of-state assignments and out-of-state employers who send employees on assignments to Minnesota should be familiar with the extra-territorial application of Minnesota’s workers’ compensation laws.

About Michael Miller

Michael is a Chambers-rated attorney in Briggs and Morgan's Employment, Benefits, and Labor group and is head of the firm’s Employment Law Counseling and Compliance practice group. He has 25 years experience counseling employers to prevent unwanted litigation and advises companies of ongoing changes in federal, state and local employment law. Michael advises employers in all areas of employment law including discipline and discharge, leaves of absence, wage and hour compliance, non-compete and confidentiality agreements, affirmative action plans, background checking, and drug/alcohol testing. For Michael's full bio, click here.

Posted on July 11, 2012, in Workers' Compensation and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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