As outlined in this space back in June, the nature of an ­employment relationship is a question of law that is to be determined on a ­case-by-case basis. The Commonwealth Court case of Hawbaker v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, (Kriner’s Quality Roofing Services and UEGF), 224 C.D. 2016, ­provided a springboard for discussing under what circumstances an injured worker can be considered an employee versus an independent contractor. Hawbaker also ­offered a comparison between the ­”traditional” factors in determining whether an ­employer-employee relationship exists and the ­specific statutory requirements of the 2010 Construction Workplace Misclassification Act (CWMA), which sought to codify criteria for ­classification of independent contractors in construction settings.

Earlier this week, the Commonwealth Court threw its hat into the employment relationship ring yet again with its decision in D&R Construction v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, (Suarez, Travelers Insurance, UEGF and T&L), which addressed the related question of whether the CWMA can be applied retroactive to its 2010 enactment date and whether the CWMA could be instructive in better understanding and evaluating the traditional factors used in determining an employment relationship. While in D&R Construction this potential application of the CWMA as instructive was directed at pre-CWMA enactment cases, the question is also relevant to injuries sustained in ­industries outside of construction, which are significantly more 
common.

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