Acol provides guitar lessons at Marsha’s Guitar Shop and recently began to sporadically cover the front desk at the shop. An independent contractor has the right to control the manner and means of accomplishing the result desired. Essentially, a principal only has direct control over the outcome of the work, while an independent contractor has control of how that work will be undertook. Can Acol be classified as an independent contractor?
Probably yes. Courts use a variety of factors to determine whether an individual qualifies as an independent contractor. However, courts have held one of the most significant factors is the degree of control exercised over the individual hired to perform the work. Acol had a large degree of control over the performance of her own work. Acol chose her own hours, had full control over the lesson plans, and used her own instruments to perform the lessons. The overall circumstances, coupled together, demonstrate Acol principally controlled her own work. Therefore, the court will likely find Acol an independent contractor.
Statement of Facts
Stephanie Acol has been giving lessons at Marsha’s Guitar Shop, owned by Marsha Mullins, for the past two years. Video Recording: Interview of Marsha Mullins by Ana Tadeo, Law Offices of Tadeo and Associates (Oct. 14, 2013) (in client file). There is no written agreement between Acol and Mullins. However, they do have an oral agreement, whereby Acol rents the back studio of the shop from Mullins for three hundred dollars a month. Moreover, Mullins receives a flat rate fee of twenty dollars for every person she refers to Acol for guitar lessons. Mullins requests Acol wear a company shirt and also keep track of all her clients...
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...financial endeavors. Therefore, Mullins’ actions can be argued as the actions of business owner collaborating with an affiliate, not an employer exercising control. Furthermore, although Mullins demonstrates some degree of control, it is not substantial enough to outweigh the necessary control Acol holds.
Acol demonstrated a significant control over the manner and means of her work. Additionally, Acol controlled the majority of her working hours, the amount she charged, and her lesson plans. Furthermore, Acol and Mullins did not illustrate a substantial employee-employer relationship and Acol demonstrated substantial financial control over her services. Therefore, the court will probably classify Acol as an independent contractor.
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