Contractor who provided equipment, lacked set schedule not an employee
Case name: Davila-Lazaro v. Industrial Commission of Arizona, No. 1 CA-IC 10-0039 (Ariz. Ct. App. 07/21/11, unpublished).
Ruling: In an unpublished decision, the Arizona Court of Appeals held that a contractor was not entitled to benefits because he was not an employee of a homeowner.
What it means: In Arizona, in determining whether a worker is an employee, the totality of the circumstances is examined, including the duration of the employment, the method of payment, who provides the necessary equipment, the right to hire and fire, who bears responsibility for workers' compensation insurance, the extent to which the employer exercises control over the details of the work, and whether the work was performed in the regular course of the employer's business.
Summary: A homeowner bought houses, renovated them, and sold them for a profit. He needed work done on a house so he contacted a home remodeling contractor. The contractor was cutting plywood with an electric saw for the fourth house he worked on for the homeowner when he sustained a severe hand injury. His index finger and thumb were amputated, and he sustained wounds to the remaining fingers. The contractor sought workers' compensation benefits. The Arizona Court of Appeals held that he was not entitled to benefits because he was an independent contractor and not an employee of the homeowner.
The court examined the totality of the circumstances of the work and considered who had the right of control. The homeowner provided masking materials, plastic, paint, and plywood for the contractor to repair holes and paint. The contractor provided brushes, a paint sprayer, a compressor, and the saw.
The homeowner gave the contractor a key to the house. The homeowner said the contractor could come and go as he pleased, and he did not set the contractor's work schedule, supervise his work, or keep track of the contractor's work hours. The homeowner said he was out of town when the contractor was injured. They did not have an employment contract, and the homeowner did not withhold taxes from his payments to the contractor.
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September 8, 2011
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