New Mexico Farm Laborers Covered by Workers’ Comp

By BARRY MASSEY | December 12, 2013

A legal advocacy group says farm and ranch laborers in New Mexico are covered by workers’ compensation protections because of recent state court decisions.

The Center on Law and Poverty applauded on Tuesday a decision by the state Court of Appeals that the Workers’ Compensation Administration must follow an Albuquerque judge’s ruling in favor of agricultural workers.

The judge in 2011 declared unconstitutional a state law provision excluding agricultural workers from coverage for back wages and medical expenses for job-related injuries.

The appeals court two weeks ago said the workers’ compensation enforcement agency is bound by the judge’s ruling although the court didn’t directly rule on the constitutional question.

A spokesman says the agency is still trying to determine the effect of the Court of Appeals ruling.

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