An issue that frequently comes up in employment contract matters is whether a worker is considered an employee and therefore entitled a worker’s compensation benefits or an independent contractor, in which case they would not be entitled to worker’s compensation benefits. What is important to remember at the outset is that simply because your employer calls you an independent contractor or even if you have a contract that says you are an independent contractor, that does not necessarily mean that you are an independent contractor.
There are several examples where this issue comes up frequently. One of them is in the trucking industry. Sometimes the owner of a truck will hire you to operate the truck, and that they may consider you an independent contractor. That may or may not be the case. It frequently comes up in the construction industry, where a contractor will hire you to perform a portion of their work, and they will label you as an independent contractor. According to the Office of Child Support Enforcement, you are not necessarily an independent contractor.
The important issue in this area is who controls the means and methods for how the work is to be done. In determining that, the court will look at how you are paid. Are you paid with a 1099 or are you paid with the W-2? Are you paid cash? Are you paid by the job or are you paid by the hour? Are you on a fixed salary? Other issues that are important is who provides the equipment. Are you using your own equipment or is it the employer who provides the equipment.