N.Y. insurance agent wins unemployment benefits as agency’s ‘employee’

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From Property Casualty 360, Steven A. Meyerowitz discusses a New York case in which an insurance agent was eligible for unemployment benefits because he was an employee of the insurance agency. New York has a statute that provides that an insurance agent is an independent contractor provided certain conditions were met.  Steven reports that the court concluded that the worker was and employee and writes:  .

“The court added that although no single factor was determinative, “control over the results produced or the means used to achieve those results” were “pertinent considerations,” with the latter being “more important.”

In this case, the court found, there was “ample evidence” to support the finding that Aaron Casey Insurance had exercised control over numerous aspects of Mr. Fahrson’s work. For example, the court said, Mr. Fahrson was required to work a minimum of 30 hours per week, per a schedule set by Aaron Casey Insurance, and he needed permission to take time off. The court added that, in addition to servicing customers outside the office, Mr. Fahrson was responsible for performing in-office work, including answering phones and servicing walk-in customers. The court observed that Mr. Fahrson was paid an hourly wage plus commissions and was reimbursed for the costs associated with obtaining his insurance license. Additionally, the court continued, Mr. Fahrson was provided training and was required to report back regarding sales leads, his work was reviewed by Aaron Casey Insurance, and he had a sales quota and faced termination if it was not met.

In the court’s view, this was “more than sufficient to support the Board’s finding of an employment relationship, notwithstanding the existence of other proof that could support a contrary conclusion.”

Finally, the court decided that the Board properly had concluded that the parties’ agreement had not satisfied the requirements of Labor Law § 511(21) and, thus, that the statute did not bar Mr. Fahrson’s application for unemployment insurance benefits.

The case is Matter of Claim of Fahrson (N.Y. App.Div. 3d Dep’t Feb. 19, 2015)…”

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