Creating independent-contractor agreements is not a do-it-yourself job. Always get expert legal help.
Recent case: Curtis and Margaret Johnson decided to buy a delivery truck and start a business. Neither was qualified as a commercial driver, so they planned to hire vehicle operators.
They signed up with FedEx to deliver packages to one ZIP code and signed an independent-contractor agreement. When the Johnsons failed to satisfy FedEx standards, the company terminated the agreement. The Johnsons then sued, alleging they had really been FedEx employees.
Fortunately for FedEx, its agreement was very tightly drafted—and the actual work the Johnsons performed was almost entirely within their control. The court determined they were truly independent contractors. (Johnson, et al., v. FedEx, No. 04-CV-4935, ED NY, 2011)
- Make sure employees know FMLA policy on returning to work
- Pre-Employment tests: Do yours meet the new EEOC guidelines?
- Feel free to impose legitimate discipline on employee, even if she's on FMLA leave
- Complaining about co-worker's harassment may be protected
- Solid reasons for firing protect against retaliation charges