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Is he an “employee” or not

My company told me that I was an independent contractor…but I think I am an employee regarding unemployment compensation. Which is it? —George L.

We have to look at the Connecticut Unemployment Compensation Act to answer the above question. That Act applies the “ABC” test to determine the employment status of an individual. Unless all three criteria of the “ABC” test are satisfied, an individual is held to be an employee.

The first criteria is whether the individual is free from control and direction in the performance of the service to be rendered.

The second criteria is whether the service to be performed is outside of the usual course of the business for which the service is rendered.

Lastly, the third criteria is whether or not the individual is customarily engaged in a business that is independent of the same type of business being informed for the employer.

All three of the above criteria must be fulfilled or the individual is considered to be an employee for unemployment compensation purposes.

As earlier readers of this column have hopefully noticed, there are many different tests to be applied under different laws in determining if a worker is an employee or not. The “ABC” test is the toughest of such tests.

A more informal test of employment is the “Duck” test; i.e., is the worker controlled and supervised like an employee? Like a bird that sounds like a duck, smells like a duck, walks like a duck……. is probably a duck…the same applies to a worker who looks like an employee, works like an employee, etc.


Attorney Stephen P. Horner is “of counsel” to the Darien firm of Rucci Burnham and has his own practice, specializing in labor law, in Madison. He can be reached at shorner@horner-law.com or horner-law.com.

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