From Fisher Phillips, Richard Meneghello discusses a recent case in which the actual relationship between a company and a worker was inconsistent with the independent contractor agreement and the court relied on the actual relationship to make its decision. Richard writes:
In the court’s February 8 opinion, however, it noted that the agreement was relevant, “but the documents tell only part of the story.” It peeled back the document and looked at the actual relationship to make its determination about control, examining the underlying allegations brought by Nemo to determine whether they would form the basis of an employment relationship. Among them: the hub supervisor assigned him delivery routes, the hub supervisor’s boss could likewise assign routes and could even overrule the hub supervisor, Donnelley required drivers to use a specific delivery app on their phones to handle the work, and hub supervisor supervised his day-to-day work. Further, Nemo submitted evidence to demonstrate that he communicated with Donnelley managers about “payday,” obtaining a company ID badge, taking a mandatory drug test, and specific instructions on carrying out deliveries. In fact, he received “payroll” checks from Donnelley to compensate him for his services.
When the two were compared—the world contained in the contractor agreement against the reality as alleged by Nemo’s complaint and evidence—the court found inconsistencies that led it to rule in Nemo’s favor.
- While the agreement said Nemo would receive no supervision about how to perform deliveries, Nemo alleges that the hub supervisor directed the work of Nemo and other drivers.
- Although the agreement said Nemo would have to provide his own equipment and tools, other evidence demonstrated that Donnelley provided an electronic program to aid the drivers in making deliveries.
- The agreement said he would be paid on a per-contract basis, but Nemo presented evidence that he received payroll checks.
- And while the agreement noted that drivers could reject any delivery opportunity and had no obligation to offer delivery work continually, Nemo contended that the hub supervisor and his boss instructed drivers that they had to make certain deliveries.
The inconsistencies were too much for the court to handle. They led the judge to deny Donnelley’s motion to dismiss (and accompanying summary judgment motion) and rule in Nemo’s favor, allowing him to proceed with his claim.
Read the full story at Contractor Agreements Not Worth The Paper They’re Printed On, Part 785: Gig Employer Blog