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Employee or Independent Contractor

An area of employment law that often affects both employees and employers is determining whether an employment relationship even exits. Our Idaho Employment Attorneys are experienced and knowledgeable in every aspect of employment law, including determining when and if the employment relationship exists. Whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor controls every aspect of the interaction that can occur between the parties including payment, taxes, liability and more. Our Employment Lawyers in Idaho are here to help you.

Our team of Idaho Employment Attorneys consists of partner Lane Erickson and attorney Nolan Wittrock. Our Idaho Employment Law team have earned the highest possible ratings from Martindale Hubbell, AVVO and JUSTIA for their experience, legal ability, and ethics. More importantly, we have the knowledge and experience to help you determine whether the parties you deal with are employees or independent contractors.

4 Factors in Idaho Used to Determine if You are an Employee

Currently, under applicable Idaho law, there are 4 specific factors used by Idaho’s Courts to determine whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor. Having a correct understanding of the relationship between individuals is the most important step in determining what rights and obligations each party has. This can best be illustrated by examining the Idaho case Moore v. Moore, 152 Idaho 245, 249, 269 P.3d 802, 2011 Ida. LEXIS 12 (Idaho 2011).

The first factor that Idaho Courts examine is whether there is any direct evidence of the employer’s right to control the time, manner, and method of the work being done by the individual. In analyzing this factor in the Moore, case the Commission found that Claimant generally controlled his own work. The Commission analyzed the period of time from the late 1990’s until 2008, and found that at all times before and after the accident that caused the lawsuit to be brought, the Claimant was an independent contractor who controlled his own work. Moore v. Moore, 152 Idaho 245, 249, 269 P.3d 802, 2011 Ida. LEXIS 12 (Idaho 2011). According to the Moore, court, a previous Idaho case, Shriner v. Rausch, 141 Idaho 228, 108 P.3d 375 (2005), did not stand for the proposition that the Commission could not consider the course of dealings, or the actual interactions that had occurred between the parties when conducting its analysis. The course of dealing between parties is proper to examine. Moore v. Moore, 152 Idaho 245, 250, 269 P.3d 802, 2011 Ida. LEXIS 12 (Idaho 2011).

The next factor that the Court analyzed in Moore, was the method of payment. The Commission found that every entry in Moore Enterprises’ books for more than a year before and after the accident that caused the case to be brought demonstrated that Claimant was always paid as a separate business for work he performed for Moore Enterprises. The Commission also noted that Moore Enterprises’ books showed that another employee was properly identified for tax withholdings even when that employee had earned as little as $200 in one year. According to the Moore, court if Claimant’s status as an independent contractor was to have changed, it would have been reflected in the accounting books. Moore v. Moore, 152 Idaho 245, 251, 269 P.3d 802, 2011 Ida. LEXIS 12 (Idaho 2011).

The third factor the Court in Moore, considered was which party was responsible for furnishing the major items of equipment. The Commission found that the major item of equipment used in both Moore Enterprises’ and Claimant’s businesses was a regrooving machine, and that Claimant and Moore Enterprises each owned one. The Commission went on to find that, although Moore Enterprises owned the truck, trailer, and jack that were used on the day of the accident, such fact was of de minimis importance given that the sales trips, such as the one they planned to go on the day of the accident, were typically joint ventures. Moore v. Moore, 152 Idaho 245, 252, 269 P.3d 802, 2011 Ida. LEXIS 12 (Idaho 2011)

The last factor considered by the Court in Moore, was the right to terminate the relationship at will and without liability. The Commission found that analyzing whether either party had the right to terminate the relationship at will was a neutral factor because the issue of whether the relationship was an at will employment relationship, or involved independent businesses in a joint venture, was not adequately addressed by the facts in the record. The Commission pointed out that the record did not contain a written employment agreement or joint venture agreement. Moore v. Moore, 152 Idaho 245, 253, 269 P.3d 802, 2011 Ida. LEXIS 12 (Idaho 2011)

With these factors in mind, both employers and individuals can evaluate whether the relationship between them is that of an independent contractor or an actual employee. Understanding the relationship that exists between parties, enables each person to follow the correct laws and requirements to each other within that relationship.

Enlist an Idaho Employment Law Attorney to Help You

If you have questions or concerns about whether a planned or actual termination is in violation of public policy laws, we can help. The experienced Idaho Employment and Labor Law attorney team at the Racine Law Office are here to help you when you need it most. Whether you are an employer or an employee with an employment law problem we are available to discuss your options and answer your questions. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation with the Racine Olson team of Idaho Employment and Labor Law attorneys in Idaho. You can also email us directly at racine@racinelaw.net. We will answer your questions and help you solve your Idaho Employment and Labor Law problems.

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