If you engage casual workers for short-term work, be aware that you may be their employer for workers’ compensation purposes.
That’s why it is so important to check with your compensation carrier about coverage, so you won’t be left holding the bag.
Recent case: Event Design Associates retained James Joyner to assist in transporting furniture and props to a party the company was organizing on Long Island. The company instructed Joyner to pick up a leased truck in Manhattan. He drove it to Brooklyn, where he loaded it with furniture and parked it for the night.
The next morning, he drove the truck to Long Island and set up for the party. He stayed at a local motel overnight. The following day, he reloaded the truck and started back to Manhattan.
On the way, Joyner was involved in an accident and was seriously injured. He filed for workers’ compensation and received benefits.
The company appealed, arguing Joyner was not its employee but an independent contractor. The appeals court didn’t buy the company’s claim. Even though he worked only one event for the company, he did so under tight restrictions—it told him what to do and paid him an hourly fee. Plus, the company leased and paid for the truck. (Joyner v. Event Design Associates, No. 500709, Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, 2007)