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Jones v. The Industrial Commission of Arizona

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division, Department E

August 22, 2013

SHEILA HENDERSON-JONES, Petitioner,
v.
THE INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION OF ARIZONA, Respondent, INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION, Respondent Employer, SCF ARIZONA, Respondent Carrier, SPECIAL FUND DIVISION/NO INSURANCE SECTION, Respondent Party in Interest.

Special Action – Industrial Commission ICA Claim No. 20110-730207 Carrier Claim No. 1011769 Administrative Law Judge J. Matthew Powell

Taylor & Associates, PLLC Phoenix By Benjamin F. Manion Attorneys for Petitioner

Andrew F. Wade, Chief Counsel Phoenix The Industrial Commission of Arizona Attorney for Respondent

Klein, Doherty, Lundmark, Barberich & La Mont, P.C. Phoenix By R. Todd Lundmark Attorneys for Respondent Employer

James B. Stabler, Chief Counsel Phoenix SCF Arizona By Sharon M. Hensley Attorneys for Respondent Carrier

Special Fund Division/No Insurance Section Phoenix The Industrial Commission of Arizona By Stephen D. Ball Attorney for Respondent Party in Interest

OPINION

JOHN C. GEMMILL, JUDGE

¶1 This is a special action review of an Industrial Commission of Arizona ("ICA") award and decision upon review for a noncompensable claim. The question presented is whether Sheila Henderson-Jones was an employee or a volunteer of respondent employer, the International Foundation for Education and Self-Help ("IFESH"), which is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona. Because the evidence and law reasonably support the findings and conclusion of the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") that Henderson-Jones was a volunteer, we affirm the award.

¶2 On March 13, 2010, Henderson-Jones was working for IFESH in its Teachers for Africa Program, later renamed International Educators for Africa ("IEFA"). She was living in Akoupe, Republic of Cote d'Ivoire, and teaching English at the College Moderne Barry Callebaut. While teaching, Henderson- Jones noticed that many of her students appeared to have problems with their eyesight, and she decided to work on a project to procure eye exams and eye glasses for her students. While traveling by bus to Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, to meet with a visiting group of ophthalmologists from the United States, the bus overturned and Henderson-Jones was injured. She received initial treatment in Abidjan before being airlifted to France.[1]After returning to the United States, Henderson-Jones filed a workers' compensation claim. Her claim was denied for benefits, and she timely requested an ICA hearing.

¶3 IFESH is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which was founded thirty years ago in Pennsylvania by the late Reverend Leon Sullivan for the purpose of helping African women and children. IEFA is a program overseen by IFESH and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development ("USAID"), a branch of the U.S. State Department that provides funding for IEFA. IEFA's primary focus is adult literacy and basic educational improvement in underprivileged African countries. Henderson-Jones originally came in contact with IFESH in 2001. Henderson-Jones had a bachelor's degree in journalism, most of the requirements for a master's degree in education, and very extensive teaching experience. She became aware of the program through a recruitment bulletin, applied, was accepted, and worked for a year in Benin, Africa. Henderson-Jones then returned to Maryland and worked at her regular job until 2009 when she contacted IFESH's director of educational programs about returning to IFESH.

¶4 In August 2009, Henderson-Jones was reaccepted into IFESH's IEFA program and traveled to Scottsdale for a one-week orientation. During the orientation, participants heard from representatives of IFESH and USAID. Henderson-Jones acknowledged that she was told that her participation in the program was as a volunteer. She also received and reviewed IFESH's Program Handbook, which stated:

Participation in the TFA program is strictly on a volunteer basis. Although IFESH provides a nominal living stipend and other allowances to each volunteer, participants are not paid for their services nor are they employees of IFESH. All volunteers agree to participate in the TFA program strictly at their own risk.

¶5 During her orientation week, Henderson-Jones also signed an IFESH Participation Agreement with a representative of USAID. The agreement stated that she participated in IFESH as a volunteer, that she understood she was not an employee of IFESH, and that she would be paid a stipend but not a salary. After signing the agreement, she was considered accepted into the program and received the $600 pre-departure allowance, which was intended to cover visas, inoculations, and other costs of preparing to travel.

¶6 In October 2009, Henderson-Jones traveled to Cote d'Ivoire and spent an additional two to three weeks receiving in-country orientation from IFESH's Cote d'Ivoire country director, local doctors, and other teachers. She began her teaching duties in Akoupe in November 2009. She received per diem cash payments during the orientation to cover travel, hotel, and meal expenses. IFESH also paid for Henderson-Jones's apartment and utilities. At the end of the in-country orientation, Henderson-Jones received a $350 country settling-in allowance. The per diem provided by IFESH is based on the international per diem rates ...


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