High Court Rules for Employers in Unemployment Case
The Connecticut Supreme Court has sided with employers and against the state in a case that would have severely restricted a business’ ability to use independent contractors.
Ruling in Standard Oil v Administrator, Unemployment Compensation, the court struck down a decision of the state’s Board of Review of the Employment Security Appeals Division that certain workers were employees of Standard Oil rather than independent contractors.
Under the review board’s ruling, those contracted workers were eligible to receive unemployment benefits as employees of Standard.
However, in order to arrive at that conclusion, the board generously expanded the concepts of independence, place of business, and worksite direction and supervision.
The court overturned the review board, finding that the contractors were “free to accept or reject any assignment … without adverse consequences,” and worked without Standard’s direct supervision at worksites outside of the company’s actual place of business.
The court’s ruling is good news for employers, especially those who use independent contractors.
“…as the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, Inc., argues in its amicus brief, a broad interpretation in this context could turn every Connecticut household into a place of business for any company that performs services at a customer’s home, thus profoundly limiting an employer’s ability to subcontract work.”
The court’s ruling is good news for employers, especially those who use independent contractors to visit and provide services to customers at their locations.
CBIA appreciates the work of attorneys Michael Harrington and Jennifer Corvo, both with Murtha Cullina LLP, in filing the amicus brief.
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