From JDSupra, Denise Elliott discusses a recent Pennsylvania court decision in which the court said that a worker is an independent contractor under the workers compensation statute only if the worker signed an independent contractor agreement before the worker sustained the injury. Denise writes:
Recently, in Staron v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Farrier), the Commonwealth Court clarified the first prong of the definition – the “written contract” requirement.
In Staron, the claimant responded to an advertisement by Lee’s Metal Roof Coatings and Painting (“Lee’s”) for a painter. Claimant was allegedly a self-employed subcontractor with 20 years experience in painting and roof work. Claimant began working for Lee’s, using his own tools and equipment and taking very minimal direction from Lee’s. Approximately two months into the relationship, claimant fell off a roof and was injured. Lee’s presented claimant with a written independent contractor agreement upon his release from the hospital, which claimant freely signed. Claimant nonetheless sought workers’ compensation benefits from Lee’s, which were granted by the Workers’ Compensation Judge and affirmed by the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board on the basis that claimant was an employee of Lee’s and not an independent contractor. On appeal, the Commonwealth Court found that claimant was not an independent contractor, as defined by the CWMA, because there was no written contract between Lee’s and the claimant at the time claimant was injured. It did not matter to the Court that claimant voluntarily signed the agreement after his injury. According to the Court, the written independent contractor agreement contemplated by the CWMA must be in place prior to any injury being sustained in order to satisfy the “written contract” requirement of the Act.
Read the full story at Workers’ Compensation Update: Commonwealth Court Clarifies “Written Contract” Requirement for Independent Contractor Classification under the Construction Workplace Misclassification Act