Employee v. Independent Contractor

Barkan Meizlish , May 13, 2015

In order to limit exposure under a state workers’ compensation act, employers often attempt to classify new hires as “independent contractors.” In forming this type of employment, employers often believe that when an employee signs an independent contractor agreement, they are shielded from the liability of workers’ compensation insurance. While these agreements are important, they are not necessarily determinative.

There are several factors courts consider when determining whether someone is an employee or an independent contractor. However, it should be noted that each jurisdiction has its own statutes and regulations, which govern the employee and independent contractor relationships. As such, one in doubt should refer to their state’s statutes and rules to determine their employment status.

Regardless, the common element that all courts look for in these relationships is the right of “control” as to the means and manner of the job. The following are all considerations.

(1) Level of instruction;

(2) Amount of training;

(3) Degree of business integration;

(4) Method of payment;

(5) The furnishing of work tools and other materials;

(6) Ultimate control over the work environment and where work is completed; and

(7) The right of discharge.

While this list is not exhaustive, it should provide employees a good idea of the factors which go into an independent contractor/employee relationship determination.


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