Case name: Farmer v. O'Donnell, 19 FLWCLB 67 (Fla. JCC, St. Petersburg 2012).
Ruling: A Florida judge of compensation claims held that a worker was entitled to benefits because he was an employee, not an independent contractor, of a kennel owner.
What it means: In Florida, evidence that a worker did not maintain a separate business, have a federal employee identification number or bank account in the name of a business, and he received the same weekly pay directly from the employer can show that the worker was an employee and not an independent contractor.
Summary: A worker alleged he injured his back while lifting a dog at a greyhound racing kennel. Evidence indicated that the worker's father, a dog trainer who owned several dogs in the kennel, needed help and the worker was hired by the kennel owner at $450 per week for the duration of the racing season. The owner testified that the worker and his father specifically asked to be exempted as workers' compensation covered employees and instead have nonemployee status. They received 1099 independent contractor tax forms without any deductions in their weekly pay. In awarding benefits, the JCC found that the owner was an employer and the worker was an employee, not an independent contractor.
The worker did not meet the criteria to be considered an independent contractor because he did not maintain a separate business with his own work facility, truck, equipment, or materials. He did not have a federal employee identification number and was not a sole proprietor. No payments were made by the kennel owner to any business but instead were paid directly to the worker. Also, there was no evidence that the worker had a bank account in the name of the business entity.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
July 23, 2012
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