It is Important to Know the Distinction Between an Employee and an Independent Contractor
Video Transcribed: Tulsa Construction Attorney Brian Carter here with TulsaConstructionLawyer.com. In this video, I’m going to talk a little bit about what the differences between an employee and an independent contractor and why that’s an important consideration for anybody hiring or taking on work.
Some of the things, considerations that you need to be mindful of are obviously liability if something goes wrong, tax and insurance issues and workers’ compensation issues, because under the workers’ compensation laws, an independent contractor is not an employee.
Some of the standard definitions as far as an independent contractor is an independent contractor is one who engages and performs certain services for another according to his own manner, method, free from control and direction of his employer in all matters connected with the performance of the service. And this is an important distinction that essentially you are hiring somebody to do a job and you are not telling them how to do the job. All you are concerned is that they get the job done and you get the result that you’re after.
As far as drawing a line between an independent contractor and an employee, no real good clear demarcation line and there are a handful of factors that Oklahoma courts have over the years adopted to evaluate when making the decision whether someone is an independent contractor or an employee. And these factors are not absolute. No one weighs more than the other and they’re always considered in their totality.
And I’ll just run through some of the more substantiated factors here real quick to give you an idea about what courts look at when they are evaluating a dispute between someone claiming to be an employee or an independent contractor.
First of all, the nature of the contract between the parties, whether it was written or oral, the degree of control by which the agreement the employer may exercise on the detail of the work or the independence enjoyed by the contractor or agent, i.e., employee, whether or not the employee is engaged in a distinct operation or business, and whether he carries on such occupation her business for others, the kind of occupation with reference to which in locality the work is usually done under the direction of an employer or by a specialist without supervision, the skill required to perform the task, whether or not the employer or the workman supplied the instruments or tools to complete the work, the length of time which the person has been employed, and whether or not the parties believe they are creating a relationship of employer, employee, and obviously the understanding of who has the right to terminate the relationship.
Again, all these factors, not a single one of them is depositive, but they are all considered where relevant when evaluating whether there is an employee or an independent contractor.