It seems that my office is seeing a bigger trend of employers classifying their workers as “independent contractors” in an effort to avoid providing benefits. We often see these cases when someone is hurt on the job and they are denied Workman’s compensation benefits upon the grounds that they are an independent contractor. Unfortunately, the classification as an independent contractor is often given incorrectly and was only given in an effort to escape these benefits.
It is important to know that even if you sign an agreement stating you are an independent contractor you may not be one. The law in Tennessee looks at not what the employer calls the worker but the actual control the company has over a worker to determine if he or she is independent contractor or an employee. In order to determine the extent of the control the following factors are considered:
A. the right to control the conduct of the work B. The right of termination C. The method of payment
D. The freedom to select and hire helpers E. The furnishing of tools and equipment F. Self scheduling of working hours G. The freedom to offer services to other entities
The more of these factors which exist allowing the employer to control the worker the more likely a worker is an employee. As such, if you are hurt on the job and were denied workman compensation benefits on the grounds you are an independent contractor, please contact a lawyer to be sure your the denial is legal. You may call or email my office with any questions.