Last spring in Poland, a menacing brown object appeared in a tree. Locals grew concerned about the mysterious beast and closed their windows. After a few days it was still there, and a call was placed to the local animal welfare society.
The authorities responded to the call and arrived on the scene to investigate. The citizens were relieved to learn it was not a bird of prey, a dangerous rabies-infested rodent, or a trapped pet. It was a croissant.
Somebody probably threw it into the tree while trying to feed birds.
The locals were likely embarrassed, but better safe than sorry. When in doubt, take steps to avoid problems. Be proactive.
Here are five tips to start off the new year the right way, with or without arboreal baked goods:
1. Review and revise your agreements with staffing agencies. Make sure you include The Monster with Three Eyes and these other clauses. Consider requiring all individual workers to sign arbitration agreements, and don’t forget the impact a choice of law clause may have.
3. Self-audit your use of independent contractors to determine whether these relationships are defensible. Here’s a tip for quickly identifying the riskiest relationships.
2. Review and revise your agreements with independent contractors. Add safe harbor clauses if you do business in WV or LA. Remember these rules, akin to discomfitting a bear.
4. Create a gatekeeper system so that managers and procurement team members cannot retain non-employee labor without first going through a designated individual. You can’t guard against the risks you don’t even know about.
5. Check your website for references to independent contractor relationships. Don’t refer to your contractors as “our whatevers” or “our team of whatevers.”
Remember, to those who say they haven’t been sued for misclassification, I say you haven’t been sued yet.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2022!
© 2022 Todd Lebowitz, posted on WhoIsMyEmployee.com, Exploring Issues of Independent Contractor Misclassification and Joint Employment. All rights reserved.