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Misclassified employee is eligible for WC Benefits

October 5, 2021

By Richard P. Gaitens, Esquire

In Hicks v. DirectSat USA LLC, the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) affirmed the Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ)’s determination that the injured worker was a misclassified employee and not an independent contractor and thus eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Mr. Hicks installed satellites for D-Wayne, which contracted with the company DirectSat. Although Mr. Hicks has an Independent Contractor Agreement with D-Wayne, testimony established that the employer managed his schedule, prohibited him from soliciting outside work, and did not permit him to hire assistants. In light of this evidence, the WCJ found, and the WCAB agreed, that Mr. Hicks was NOT an independent contractor but a misclassified employee, even with an agreement in place, because he was not permitted to act as an independent contractor – the employer exercised all control over his work.

What does this mean? We see a lot of cases where the injured worker is a misclassified employee. (see Being An Employee And Not An Independent Contractor Entitles You To Workers’ Comp, Act 72 Defines Independent Contractor For Workers’ Compensation Purposes, and Misclassified Employee Entitled To Workers’ Compensation Benefits.) If you were given an Independent Contractor Agreement or 1099, but you do not control your schedule, which jobs you take, have the ability to hire and fire, or provide your own tools, you may be misclassified. Workers who are injured on the job and misclassified are usually eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Contact us online or call (412) 338-1177 to discuss your circumstances and whether you may have a case.

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