Taxi Driver Independent Contractor NC Court of Appeals
Independent Contractor status is one of the most confusing areas in Workers Compensation over the last decade. A recent North Carolina Court of Appeals decision actually strengthens the laws already in place. (See NC 97.5-1).
There are many articles in this blog concerning contractors. Many states have enacted laws over the last few years to make the independent contractor vs. employee classification decision easier for employers.
The IRS has published many guides on how to make the determination for tax purposes.
The case – Refik Ademovic v. Yellow Cab of Charlotte- involved a shooting by a passenger. The Deputy Commissioner denied benefits due to the lack of an employee-employer relationship. The Full Commission reversed the Deputy Commissioner’s ruling and awarded benefits.
The defendants appealed the case of the Court of Appeals. A unanimous three-justice panel reversed the Full Commission’s award of benefits as Mr. Ademovic was ruled to have been an independent contractor.
The issue at hand was the amount of control that Yellow Cab had over the plaintiff. Click on the link in the third paragraph to see the full text of the decision.
Mr. Ademovic did not receive pay from Yellow Cab. He paid the company a weekly franchise fee of $195. The other major factor on the Appellate decision was that he was able to actually pick up passengers that hailed his cab or pick up passengers from taxi stands. He was not required to have his customers dispatched from Yellow Cab.
From the decision-
“Defendant Taxi did not determine the number of days or the number of hours plaintiff worked, instead allowing plaintiff to determine his own work schedule.”
This passage points out the level of control that Yellow Cab had over the plaintiff. One has to wonder if we will see this case on a NC Supreme Court docket in the future.
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