In Minnesota, independent contractors usually cannot receive workers’ compensation. Many workers are misclassified as independent contractors when they are actually employees. When these workers get injured, they have a tough time getting workers’ compensation benefits because of their misclassified status.
Sometimes it is hard to tell whether you are a true employee or an independent contractor. The Minnesota laws provide some guidance, but ultimately it may be up to a workers’ compensation judge to decide. In particular, the laws discuss what makes workers in a few different professions contractors versus employees. These professions include, among others:
- Bookkeepers and accountants
- Domestic service workers and babysitters
- Medical personnel
- Taxi drivers
- Timber workers
- Sports officials and trainers
For example, a barber is an independent contractor if he or she rents a barber chair for a flat sum, keeps all payments from customers, provides his or her own tools, works independently of any direction from the salon owner, and has a written agreement saying he or she is a contractor. These requirements only need to be “substantially met”, so there is some flexibility in the law.
In contrast, a barber is an employee if he or she is paid a salary, wears any required salon uniform, does not advertise, can be terminated by the salon owner for violating work rules, takes direction from the salon owner on how to perform services, and has an employment agreement.
Of course, not all occupations are listed in the laws – there are simply too many. Instead, Minnesota has a general test for occupations not specifically listed. A workers’ compensation judge will consider the following factors, among others, in deciding whether an injured worker is an employee or contractor:
- The worker’s authority over assistants
- Whether the worker must comply with company instructions
- If the worker has a continuing relationship with the company
- If the worker has set hours of work
- If the worker must work in the office or can do so elsewhere
- Whether the company requires or provides training
- Amount of time the worker dedicates
- Whether the worker has simultaneous contracts
- Whether the worker provides tools and materials
- Whether the company does expense reimbursements
- Compensation on a per job or hourly/salary basis
- Who has the right to terminate the working relationship.
As you can see, determining whether someone is a contractor or employee can be complicated. Seek legal advice if you were injured at work and are not sure of your status.
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.