The parliament of New Zealand maintains a list of words and phrases that are considered unbecoming to say about another member and are therefore banned from use during parliamentary debates. These include:
- His brains could revolve inside a peanut shell for a thousand years without touching the sides.
- Energy of a tired snail returning home from a funeral.
- Could go down the Mount Eden sewer and come up cleaner than he went in.
- Silly old moo.
Words matter when trying to preserve a worker’s independent contractor classification too. Avoid possessives when referring to independent contractors, who are not “your” anything. The terminology you use should be consistent with the concept that the contractors are in business for themselves.
Check your company’s website and public facing materials and try to avoid phrases like this:
- Our technicians [or representatives or whatever]
- Our team of [whatevers]
- We install/repair/other verb
Other words and phrases can also suggest employment and should be avoided when referring to contractors:
- Hire (instead, retain)
- Wages (instead, compensation)
- Assignment (instead, project or engagement)
- Duties (instead, services)
Using terminology that does not sound like employment will help when trying to show a court of agency that the relationship is not employment.
And never, ever tell anyone that your independent contractor’s brains could revolve inside a peanut shell for a thousand years without touching the sides. That’s just unbecoming.
© 2022 Todd Lebowitz, posted on WhoIsMyEmployee.com, Exploring Issues of Independent Contractor Misclassification and Joint Employment. All rights reserved.