We’ve heard this story quite a bit lately. Worker suffers an on the job injury and the employer claims the worker is an independent contractor. Its a growing trend in many industries. And the reason is simple. Companies can save loads of money by labeling workers as independent contractors. They don’t pay the employer share of payroll tax and try to skip out on their obligation to cover employees with workers’ compensation insurance.
The good news is that the Workers’ Compensation Court can make a determination if a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. The Courts look at the following factors:
(1) the extent of control which, by the agreement, the employer may exercise over the details of the work
(2) whether the worker is engaged in a distinct occupation or business
(3) the kind of occupation, with reference to whether, in the locality, the work is usually done under the direction of the employer or by a specialist without supervision
(4) the skill required in the particular occupation
(5) whether the employer or the worker supplies the instruments, tools, and the place of work for the person doing the work
(6) the length of time for which the worker is engaged
(7) the method of payment, whether by the time or by the job
(8) whether the work is part of the regular business of the employer
(9) whether the parties believe they are creating an agency relationship
(10) whether the employer is or is not in business
One of the most important factors from the above is extent of control by the employer over the worker. Who sets hours? Is the worker supervised by the employer? Lots of questions here…
Even if a worker previously “agreed” to work as an independent contractor contract, a judge on the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court may find that, based upon the factors above, find an employer/employee relationship exists.
If you have suffered an injury and your employer claims you are an independent contractor, you should call a workers compensation injury attorney immediately. DO NOT give a recorded statement without speaking to an attorney. DO NOT sign anything. Call or email and discuss your situation. Initial consultation is always no charge and no further obligation.