purposes of the Kansas Workers Compensation Act, K.S.A.
44-501, et seq., "workman, " "worker,
" or "employee" means any person who has
entered into the employment of or works under any contract of
service or apprenticeship with an employer.
Workers Compensation Act is substantial, complete, and
exclusive, covering every phase of the right to compensation
under the Act and of the procedure for obtaining such
compensation. Consequently, the determination of whether a
person is a covered employee under the Workers Compensation
Act is governed exclusively by the provisions of the Act,
without resort to the common law.
Under the most fundamental rule of statutory construction,
the legislature's intent should govern where it can be
ascertained. The expressed legislative intent with respect to
the Workers Compensation Act is that the Act is to be
liberally construed to further the purpose of bringing
employers and employees within the Act's provisions.
definition of "employee" in the Workers
Compensation Act should be liberally construed to bring
workers within the provisions of the Act. Consequently, an
employee under the Workers Compensation Act includes a person
who has entered into the employment of an employer, or a
person who works under any contract of service with an
employer, or a person who works under an apprenticeship with
determination of whether an employment contract might be
deemed void ab initio under the common law because
it is an illegal contract or because it was obtained through
fraudulent inducement is not part of the analysis of whether
a person is covered by the Workers Compensation Act, when the
person has entered into the employment of an employer.
of the judgment of the Court of Appeals in an unpublished
opinion filed August 14, 2015.
from the Kansas Workers Compensation Board. Judgment of the
Court of Appeals is affirmed.
Kubin, of Bottaro, Kubin and Yocum, P.C., of Leawood, argued
the cause and was on the briefs for appellant.
Albert Herdoiza, of Kansas City, and Gary P. Kessler, of
Kessler Law Office, Inc., of Kansas City, argued the cause
and were on the brief for appellee.
School District 233 (U.S.D. 233) petitions this court for
review of the Court of Appeals' decision in
Mera-Hernandez v. U.S.D. 233, No. 112, 760, 2015 WL
5009902 (Kan. App. 2015) (unpublished opinion), which
affirmed an order from the Workers Compensation Board (Board)
awarding benefits to Leticia Mera-Hernandez for a back injury
she suffered while working for U.S.D. 233. Mera-Hernandez was
not legally authorized to work in the United States when she
was hired; she used a false name and identification documents
to apply for the job. U.S.D. 233 claims that
Mera-Hernandez' fraudulent conduct to induce her hiring
renders her employment contract void ab initio, thus
precluding any recovery under the Kansas Workers Compensation
Act (Act). We disagree and affirm the Court of Appeals'
affirmance of the Board's award.
and Procedural Overview
parties do not dispute the underlying facts. U.S.D. 233 hired
Mera-Hernandez as a custodian in 2009. She had worked for the
school district on two prior occasions, in 2000 and 2003,
under her true name. But when applying for the job in 2009,
Mera-Hernandez used a false name, Hilda Reina, and provided
false identification documents. She would later admit that
she had used a false name to obtain employment because she
was not legally authorized to work in the United States, and
the Board would ...