Earlier this month, the Commonwealth Court issued an order reporting the previously unreported case of Hawbaker v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Kriner’s Quality Roofing Services and Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund), 224 C.D. 2016. The case offers an opportunity to revisit the oft-litigated issue of whether an injured worker is an employee or an independent contractor. Moreover, the case considers the question in light of the Construction Workplace Misclassification Act, which sets forth criteria for classification of independent contractors in construction settings.
According to the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, the determination of an employment relationship is a question of law based on the facts presented in a case-by-case basis. Traditionally, there are four essential elements must be analyzed: the right to select the employee; the right and power to remove the employee; the power to direct the manner of performance; and 4) the potential power to control the employee. As alluded to above, in 2010 the legislature attempted to codify what constitutes an independent contractor in the construction industry in order to prevent improper avoidance of workers’ compensation coverage with the Construction Workplace Misclassification Act. The three criteria needed to classify someone as an independent contractor under Section 3(a) of that statute are:
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