Messenger proves employment relationship with courier service
Case name: Ingram v. Standard Courier, 21 ILWCLB 101 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2013).
Ruling: The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission awarded benefits to a bicycle messenger, finding that he was an employee of a courier service, rather than an independent contractor.
What it means:
In Illinois, an agreement between an employer and worker that indicates that the worker is an independent contractor is not determinative of whether an employment relationship exists between the parties.
Summary: A bicycle messenger was struck from behind by a car while making a delivery on his bicycle. Evidence indicated that the messenger signed an independent contractor agreement with the courier service and a National Independent Contractor Association agreement. The agreements provided for his earnings to be paid by the association minus deductions for general liability and bike insurance and leasing fees for a radio and other equipment. Despite the title of the agreements, the arbitrator found that the messenger was an employee of the courier service and not an independent contractor. The commission affirmed and adopted the decision of the arbitrator.
The arbitrator relied on a previous decision by the commission that involved the same courier service and an essentially identical independent contractor agreement. In the previous case, the courier service exercised control over a courier's work schedule, required couriers to complete manifests and turn them in on a semi-daily basis, and required the couriers to lease a radio from the company and contribute to its umbrella insurance coverage. Also, the commission noted that delivering packages did not involve any particular skills and it was lifeblood of the courier service's business. Weighing all the factors, the commission in its prior decision found an employer-employee relationship existed between the parties.
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September 30, 2013
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