Independent Contractor vs. Employee? or How much trouble could you be getting into with sub-contractors?

The State of Connecticut, in an effort to ensure that all workers are appropriately classified, looks very closely at the circumstances of a worker's employment and carefully scrutinizes factors that indicate whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. Connecticut does not employ a statute or regulation-derived list of factors to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. Instead, after examining the totality of evidence, Connecticut courts have consistently used the test of “the employer's right to control the means and methods of the work” to determine a worker's status under the law. The policy of the Workers' Compensation Division can be understood as favoring determinations that find coverage for injured workers.

While you, as an employer, may believe that a worker is not an employee, but rather an independent contractor, it is possible that the Connecticut Workers' Compensation Division will disagree. If you are uninsured, you will be required to pay out of your pocket the statutory benefits for the employee, and may be subject to civil fines and criminal prosecution (i.e., a Class D felony). And, having forfeited your statutory immunity, you also may be liable for the worker's noneconomic damages (such as pain and suffering) if the worker decides to sue you. If you are insured, the audit of your policy may result in you being billed for additional premium, whether a worker makes a claim or not. For this reason, we urge you to carefully consider how you classify a worker. You may want to consider legal counsel before designating a worker as an independent contractor.

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