Category Archives: Independent Contractors

Quirky Question # 238, No Laughing Matter – Company Found Liable for Wrongfully Terminating Independent Contractor’s Agreement


My company relies on independent contractors, over whom we don’t exert control. They often joke around with each other. I’m not liable for employment discrimination if I terminate one of them after they complain about another, right? Answer→

Quirky Question #220, Independent Contractors


I have always understood that California employers that misclassify workers as independent contractors face potential liability, including compensatory damages, penalties and attorney’s fees. I recently heard a news broadcast that mentioned there were cases suggesting that recent court decisions have approved the use of independent contractors in California.  Is that true and what are the takeaways? Answer→

Why You Should Re-Evaluate Your Independent Contractor Designations

Why You Should Re-Evaluate Your Independent Contractor Designations

In an uncertain economy, companies are often reluctant to commit to permanent hires and instead choose to rely upon independent contractors to meet their staffing needs. But what might seem like an optimal staffing strategy can pose significant risks to companies. The U.S. government is cracking down on companies that treat workers as contractors when those workers really function as employees. The cost of misclassification is high: back wages, taxes, benefits and penalties can overwhelm small and large companies alike. If your company uses independent contractors, you should carefully consider their classification in 2012. Answer→

Quirky Question # 169: Independent Contractor or Employee?


Our company is located in Washington. To limit costs, we turned to use independent contractors in order to avoid paying benefits, limit overhead, and increase flexibility. But when can someone we hired as an “independent contractor” and for whom we expressly retained no “right to control” nonetheless be deemed an employee, exposing the company to unplanned risks under Federal and some state laws? Answer→

Forcing Employees to Litigate in One State, Quirky Question # 153

Quirky Question #153

Our company has independent-contractor consultants in many states. Our headquarters is in Minnesota. We know that we could be sued in any of the states where we have independent contractors, and that many of those states apply their own legal tests to determine whether an individual is an independent contractor or employee. To get a little predictability, and hopefully, minimize our liability, we’d like to include a choice of law provision in our independent contractor agreements designating Minnesota as the controlling law. Will that provision be enforceable if we get sued in a state other than Minnesota?


“Long Term” Independent Contractors, Quirky Question # 86

Quirky Question # 86:

We run an insurance company.  Some members of our workforce are employees; some are independent contractors.  Admittedly, some of our independent contractors have held this status for some time.

We don’t pay our independent contractors overtime for their efforts – we really don’t even know how many hours they put in.  I’ve heard some rumors that some of our independent contractors are unhappy about this arrangement and are talking about suing us for unpaid overtime.  Does this present any risks to us? Answer→