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Worker's Compensation - Worker Classification

Native American Tribal Enterprises

Native American tribal enterprises (including casinos) are not required to comply with any of the provisions of the Act. Tribes are sovereign nations, covered by sovereign immunity. The Act does not apply to tribal enterprises. The Department has no jurisdiction over tribal enterprises, including whether or not a tribe covers its employees with worker's compensation insurance or pays worker's compensation benefits, unless a tribe elects to waive its sovereign immunity.

The Department has long held that a tribal enterprise can waive its immunity by voluntarily purchasing a worker's compensation insurance policy. In that case, pursuant to s. 102.05(2) of the Act, the tribal enterprise, like any other enterprise that is not subject to the law, has elected to accept the provisions of the Act by voluntarily purchasing a policy.

If you have questions regarding tribal enterprises and injury claims not covered by the Act, you may contact the following offices.

  1. United States Department of the Interior - Bureau of Indian Affairs Great Lakes Agency
    916 West Lakeshore Drive, Ashland, WI 54806
    (715) 682-4527
  2. United States Department of the Interior - Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Public Affairs
    1849 C Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20240-0001
    (202) 208-3711