Off The Record: TRR Workers’ Comp Independent Contractor
Bill: You’re going to the supermarket and you see these people, like, at the end of the aisle, and they are demonstrating some food product there. Like, it could be cheese or some kinda sausage or something like that.
Bill: Well, I had a case like that this morning. So, I had this lady, who…she was a product administrator for a well-known restaurant, which will remain nameless at this point. She was told that… Well, she got hurt when she was making a demonstration. She went to empty an ice tray or something in the backroom of the supermarket and she fell and she broke her shoulder. And she was told that she was not considered an employee and she was an independent contractor and, therefore, that would take it out of workers’ comp. She’d be on her own. She’d be responsible for her own medical bills and would collect lost wages. So, I was arguing that the restaurant had enough direction and control over her that would make her an employee, as opposed to an independent contractor. So, it was an interesting case today.
Aimee: Yeah, Yeah. Wait. So, was she hired by an outside firm to the one there or they had hired her?
Bill: They hired her directly. And they set her wage, which was $20 an hour. And they paid her a travel expense if she had to go out to Eastern Long Island, Like, if she had to go to the [inaudible 00:01:32] or something, to a supermarket out there, they pay her a little extra travel bonus. And she had to wear a baseball cap that had the restaurant’s logo on it and an apron that had the restaurant logo on it. And they supplied the product. I think she was making, like, chicken meatballs or something like that. One was gluten-free, one was…you know, one was not. And the restaurant supplied an electric skillet that she used. And they had little, like, placards to set up on the table there and a table cloth with the restaurant logo, and some recipe cards, things like that. And my point was that there was enough direction and control here by the employer that she maybe kind of an employee as opposed to an independent contractor. And they set her on schedule, you know. Yeah.
Aimee: Right. I was gonna ask you, did they set her schedule? Was she allowed to have much leeway over her hours?
Bill: Well, she could. But this was, basically, it was a four-hour shift on Saturdays and Sundays at whatever supermarket the restaurant wanted her to go to.
Aimee: So, basically, it seems like there was sufficient factors to establish employment because the only thing she really did was say, “Okay, I’ll come on these days.” And, everything else, it seems like, you know, they supplied all the goods, she had her uniform.
Bill: They didn’t take taxes out. That’s not despising of the case. Just because they don’t deduct taxes and just because they call you a 1099 worker, it doesn’t mean you’re an independent contractor. They can call it whatever they want, but if there are certain, you know, as well call [inaudible 00:03:22] employment, then you’re… Yeah. And that goes into many different areas of worker… This is just one small instance of that.
Aimee: Oh, definitely.
Bill: There are delivery people, drivers, salespeople.
Bill: So, if you have any questions about the status of your employment, you’re not sure whether you’re an independent contractor or an employee, you should give us a call.