Independent Contractor or Employee

One issue that I have come across several times in my legal career is whether or not a claimant qualifies as an independent contractor or an employee.  The Board Panel recently reviewed this issue in the case of Matter of Clare Hayduscko, 219 N.Y. Wrk. Comp. 40708094 (2019).  In that case, the claimant injured her right ankle when she slipped on a wet floor while working as a home health aid.  The claimant indicated that her employer was Clare Hayduscko, who was not insured on the date of accident.  Clare Hayduscko asserted that the claimant was not an employee, but rather an independent contractor.  The claimant was working helping to take care of Clare Hayduscko’s elderly mother 7 hours a day, 5 days a week.  The claimant testified that she originally took care of the elderly mother through her work with another agency, but then Clare Hayduscko approached the claimant and offered to pay her privately, which is what had been happening proceeding the date of accident.  The claimant performed the same duties when working for Ms. Hayduscko as she did when she worked for the agency.  She cooked, cleaned, did light laundry and helped with the elderly mother.  The board panel found that this qualified the claimant as a domestic worker.  The board panel found that the claimant was an employee of Clare Hayduscko and not an independent contractor.  Clare Hayduscko was assessed a fine for not maintaining workers’ compensation insurance.  The board panel noted that home health aids are considered to be domestic workers.

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