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Solidify an independent contractor’s status by proving he turned down employee job offer

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in Compensation and Benefits,Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

Florida employers don’t have to pay workers’ compensation benefits for their independent contractors. Plus, they aren’t responsible for the on-the-job injuries of such workers.

But make sure you keep enough “distance” from those workers so they’ll keep their independent-contractor status. Otherwise, if you treat them more like employees, you’ll be on the hook for their workers’ comp, unemployment and other liabilities. Don’t exert control over their schedule or their ability to retain other clients.

Also, keep track of any invitations you extend to them to come on board as regular employees. If they ever try to claim they’re your employees, their rejections of your job offers may end up as evidence of their true status.

Recent case: John Simpson signed on with Cramer, Johnson, Wiggins & Associates as an independent insurance claims adjuster to help evaluate hurricane damage. He used his own transportation and equipment and was paid about 60 percent on each claim assessment.

Simpson turned down several offers to accept a permanent job with the company. It kept track of his rejections. But when Simpson fell through a roof, he filed for workers’ comp, claiming he was an employee.

Not so, ruled the compensation judge. Simpson’s rejections of the job offers proved his true status as an independent contractor. (Simpson v. Cramer, Johnson, Wiggins & Associates, 13 FLWCLB 229, 2006)  

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