Independent Contractor or Employee A Minnesota Overview
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Independent Contractor or Employee? A Minnesota Overview

In Minnesota, only employees qualify for workers’ compensation, while independent contractors must fend for themselves. Maybe you aren’t sure whether you are an employee, or your employer calls you a contractor but you believe you are an employee. How can you find out whether you can get workers’ comp? Complicated Minnesota workers’ compensation laws attempt to explain the difference between independent contractor and employee.

Classification Depends on Your Industry

In Minnesota, workers in some industries – construction, trucking, and being a messenger/courier – have different requirements for being considered employees than other workers do. In construction, you are considered an independent contractor if you meet a lengthy nine-factor test. If you do not meet the test, then you are an employee. All construction employers with one or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance.

In the trucking and messenger/courier industries, you are considered an independent contractor if you meet a seven-factor test, which is different from the construction test. The seven-factor test focuses more on ownership and maintenance of equipment used for the job.

The Five-Factor Test for Independent Contractors in Other Industries

In any other industry besides construction, trucking, and being a messenger/courier, a five-factor test for being an independent contractor applies. If you meet all five factors, then you are considered to be a contractor. If you do not, you are an employee. The test considers the following:

  1. The right to control the means and manner of performance for the work,
  2. The mode of payment,
  3. The furnishing of tools and materials,
  4. Control over the premises where the work was done, and
  5. The right of discharge.

This test comes from a case called Guhlke v. Roberts Truck Lines, 128 N.W.2d 324 (1964). If a worker has more control and decision-making power over how he or she does the job, gets paid, and stops work, and the worker provides his own materials and controls the location of the work, then he is more likely an independent contractor.

This test has many legal nuances, however, and the result can depend on what kind of job the worker does. As a result, injured workers who believe that they may be misclassified as contractors should immediately contact local workers’ compensation attorneys for help interpreting the law.

Need help getting workers’ compensation for your injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.