A lot of Illinois companies try to say that workers are independent contractors when they really are not. They do this to reduce the taxes they pay which is a kind way of saying that they are tax cheats. They also do it to try and screw employees out of work comp benefits and save money on insurance.
But just because they call you an independent contractor doesn’t mean you are one. And it doesn’t mean you can’t get work comp benefits if you get hurt while working. It does mean there is a little more work to do. The more control a company has over you, the more likely it is that you are an employee. A lawyer we work with on cases came up with a list of questions to ask that helps determine if you have a case or not. While we see this issue with truck drivers more than anyone else, these questions apply to anyone who believes they are wrongly classified and truly an employee.
- Did the employer require you to sign an independent contractor agreement (did the employer impose the independent contractor agreement upon the new employee)?
- Did the employer demand the employee carry occupational accident insurance or did they deduct money from his pay in order to fund the occupational accident policy?
- Did the employer require the employee to accept jobs offered or else it would’ve instructed the employee to return the truck/trailer?
- Could the employer monitor the employees driving activities?
- Did the employer have the right to tell the employee which routes to drive?
- Did the employer require the employee to take photographs of the load upon pickup and delivery?
- Were the services provided by the employee outside of the usual course of business of the employer?
- For trucking cases, is the employer in the business of transportation and logistics?
- Does the employer have other employees who are considered employees doing the exact same type of work as the alleged independent contractor?
- From the employee’s perspective, is the individual the owner or entrepreneur of an enterprise which he can sell or give away?
- Does the alleged independent contractor have a business address, a trade name, a standardized means of doing business and the availability to perform work for anyone who may wish to contract with him or her using the same equipment?
- Does the alleged independent contractor have the right to refuse jobs from the employer and if they do refuse what happens?
- Who owns the truck, who owns the trailer, who owns the licenses on both?
There is no right answer to how many of these questions have to indicate control for you to have a case. You can sign a contract that says you are an independent contractor and that doesn’t end the case if they have a lot of control over you in the other areas.
We will give you a FREE consultation to go over your job duties and injury and offer our opinion if you have a case or not. If you would like to speak with an attorney, you can contact us any time at 312-346-5578. We cover all of Illinois.