Who’s an Independent Contractor in the New Economy?

woman typing at laptop

From JDSupra, Julie Brook discusses the standard for determining if a worker is an employee or independent contractor in California in light of the upcoming decisions in the Lyft and Uber cases.  She writes:

When determining whether someone is an independent contractor or an employee, California’s common law control test is substantially identical to the federal common law control test. The most important factor by far is the right to control the method and manner used to achieve the results desired. S.G. Borello & Sons, Inc. v Department of Indus. Relations (1989) 48 C3d 341, 350. But there are several other indicia of the nature of a service relationship, including:

  • Whether or not the one performing services is engaged in a distinct occupation or business;
  • The kind of occupation, and particularly whether, in the locality, such work is usually done under the direction of the principal or by a specialist without supervision;
  • The skill required in the particular occupation;
  • Whether the principal or the worker supplies the instrumentalities, the tools, and the place of work for the person doing the work;
  • The length of time for which the services are to be performed;
  • The method of payment, whether by the hour or by the job;
  • Whether or not the work is a part of the regular business of the principal; and
  • Whether or not the parties believe they are creating the relationship of employer-employee.

No single factor is decisive and the list is not exhaustive. Also, the fact that a certain amount of freedom of action is inherent in the nature of the work doesn’t change the character of the employment when the employer has general supervision and control over it….”

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