Do You Use Independent Contractor Drivers?
Many businesses do. And if you are one of those businesses, you need to be very careful not only with the paperwork you create for your contractors to sign, but also how you manage, interact and structure your business with your contractors. Even though your contract may clearly state that your drivers are independent contractors, the law allows the court to look past the contract to the actual behavior of the parties. How where the loads offered, who initiated the contact, what options did the driver have to ply his or her business elsewhere, how significant of an investment did the driver make, was the drivers business as an independent contractor registered in the county in which the driver does business, etc. There are many more facts, situations and occurrences that the court may look at to make their determination.
A lawsuit was brought against Seacon Logix by four of its drivers with the four drivers claiming they were employees not independent contractors. Each of these four drivers singed agreements that stated they were independent contractors, they leased their tractors from Seacon Logix, they were paid by the load, and they were free to reject offered loads. At trial in February 2013, the court found that Seacon’s drivers were NOT independent contractor but rather employees.
Below, you will find a link to the last day of trail where arguments are made on both sides, for and against whether the four drivers are independent contractors, with the court in the end, outlining its decision as to why it found the drivers to be employees.
The analysis and implementation of a business model using independent contractors is complex. If you want to save yourself and your business heartache down the road, I would be happy to work with you on evaluating your present practices and determining the best road for your business to follow in using independent contractor drivers.