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May 11, 2010
What are Independent Contractors?

In a BLR webinar entitled ‘Employee versus Independent Contractor: Where’s the Line? How to Make the Proper Call and Stay Out of Court’, Maria Anastas discusses the descriptions associated with independent contractors. She provides the following information about independent contractors:

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  • An independent contractor is a worker who individually contracts with an employer to provide specialized or requested services on a project or as-needed basis
  • There is really no absolute definition of an independent contractor
  • The important distinction, from the point of view of an employer, is that an independent contractor is an individual who is performing services for the employer but who is not an employee
  • Courts and government agencies generally examine the nature of the relationship between workers and employers to determine a particular individual's status
  • Independent contractor status is generally characterized by an "arm's length" relationship between the worker and employer
  • Independent contractors are sometimes lumped into the more general group called “contingent workers” that also includes temporary, leased, contract, and payrolled employees

Maria Anastas is a partner in the San Francisco office of law firm Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, PC ( ). She represents employers in labor and employment law matters exclusively, with a primary emphasis on traditional labor matters. She handles union organizing drives and corporate campaigns, collective bargaining and arbitration, and proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). She also devotes a substantial portion of her practice to providing employers with practical advice on a wide variety of employment law issues. She can be reached at

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