The Employment Relationship
In many circumstances, the employment relationship is fairly straightforward. Is my company liable for workers’ compensation? Were you an employee who had an injury in the course of employment, arising out of the employment? Yes. Sold. Workers’ Compensation.
However, it is often more complicated. One area of complication is employee v. independent contractor. It is very important, in Maryland workers’ compensation law to be classed correctly as an independent contractor or an employee.
Independent Contractor v. Employee
If you are deemed to be an independent contractor, no one is liable for your injuries sustained on the job. However, if the person for whom you were doing the work should have been paying you and treating you as an employee, they will be liable. How do you know?
This is a complex issue and the first recommendation is for you to get a workers’ compensation lawyer. But the quick way to find out if you are an independent contractor is as follows:
- Were you using your own “means and methods.”
o Who told you how to do the work?
o How much flexibility did you have in how the work got done?
o Whose tools were being used? (Tools include traditional tools, computers, equipment, or any other physical thing required to get a job done.)
- Who told you when to work?
o Was there any flexibility in the hours of the day?
o Could you come and go as you pleased?
The more control you had over the work, the more you are likely to actually be an independent contractor. Many employers play fast and loose with these laws. There are many advantages for an employer to call would be employees independent contractors. Workers’ compensation benefits are one example. Do not let yourself be taken advantage of in the independent contractor v. employee issue.