Classifying Workers as “Independent Contractors”

In keeping with the theme of my post this morning regarding the legal implications of classifying workers as “independent contractors” versus employees, here is a recent Forbes article on ride service Uber’s defense of its independent contractor model. As noted therein, Florida’s unemployment agency (Department of Economic Opportunity) recently determined that a former Uber driver was an employee rather than an independent contractor and therefore was eligible for unemployment compensation.

There are varying legal tests for determining the true employment status of a worker depending upon the area of law at issue (e.g. federal taxation, Fair Labor Standards Act, unemployment compensation). However, a common element across these tests (and arguably the most critical) is the employer’s level of control over the worker- the more control, the greater the likelihood that a given worker will be considered an employee.