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May 15, 2010
Are You Exerting Control over Your Independent Contractors?

Maria Anastas discusses 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’. She explains the difference between an employer controlling an independent contractor and an employer giving recommendations to an independent contractor.

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  • There can be a fine line between controlling what an independent contractor does and providing input or recommendations regarding how the work gets done because the work will have an impact on the business
  • It can be a tug and pull situation
  • Making recommendations or proving some general guidance can be acceptable
  • Courts and agencies focus on if the employer is giving detailed instructions to the independent contractor
  • Are the independent contractors supervised by a supervisor? Is someone looking over their shoulder? Is someone correcting independent contractors? Is the employer giving independent contractors evaluations? Is the employer giving the independent contractors progress reports? If the answers to these questions is ‘yes’, the employer is exerting control over the independent contractor. The more it looks like the employee is treating the independent contractor like an employee, the more control it employer is exerting over the independent contractor

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 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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