The Supreme Court Gets Involved
Starting in the 1990’s, company’s began reclassifying employees as independent contractors. They did this to shift the tax burden to their employees and strengthen their bottom line. To counter this trend, the Supreme Court issued the following guidelines. These clarifications help protect employees from these actions. Specifically, these guidelines outline the “right to control.” The greater the right to control, the more likely the court is to view an individual as an independent contractor.
- Performance of significant services that are integral to the employer’s business. These can be enough to classify an individual as an employee.
- The more established the business relationship, the more likely the individual will be considered an employee and not an independent contractor.
- The greater the potential for profit/loss, the more likely the individual will be classified as an independent contractor.
- The greater the level of initiative, discretionary judgment, and/or foresight, the more likely the individual will be considered an independent contractor.
Under the Employee Classification Act in Illinois, other variables may be considered. These are used to determine whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor. These include the method of payment, and the ability of the individual to work for other companies. Factors such as requiring a uniform, the level of skill required, and the right of the employer to discharge the worker may also come into play.
Making the Decision
In Illinois, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission will consider these and other factors when determining the eligibility of a workers’ compensation claim. Thus, even if an individual has been labeled an independent contractor by a company, it does not mean the IWCC will accept this classification.
As such, any individual who is injured on the job, regardless of whether they are a truck driver, construction worker, security guard, etc., should file a workers’ compensation claim. Should the company dispute the claim, the individual will have an opportunity to appeal to the IWCC. If the individual is able to show substantive proof that their work related responsibilities should classify them as an employee, the IWCC will often grant them that distinction.