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Employee Classification Revisited (NJ)

March 27, 2019

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<p style="text-align: justify;">The New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act requires employers to insure workers by providing employees with medical treatment, and temporary/permanent disability payments for job-related injuries or illnesses.  In exchange for these non-fault related benefits, employees are subject to a workers' compensation bar, which precludes them from suing their employer in court for economic loss and  “pain and suffering” damages caused by work related injuries.  The workers' compensation bar extends to “special employees” of an employer.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">In the recent case of <a href="https://www.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Carabello-v.-Jackson-Dawson.pdf"><em>Carabello v. Jackson Dawson</em></a>, the Appellate court clarified and confirmed the factors that must be considered when determining whether a plaintiff qualifies as a “special employee” under the Act.  Specifically, the court must consider whether 1) the employee has made a contract of hire, express or implied, with the special employer; (2) the work being done by the employee is essentially that of the special employer; (3) the special employer has the right to control the details of the work; (4) the special employer pays the employee's wages; and (5) whether the special employer had the power to hire, discharge or recall the special employee.  No single factor is dispositive, and not all factors must be met in order to establish a special employment relationship.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">In <em>Carabello</em>, the court found that a special employment relationship did not exist pursuant to the above-factors, since the record was unclear as to whether the defendant controlled and supervised the plaintiff; whether the plaintiff was paid by the defendants; and the defendant did not have the ability to fire or hire the plaintiff.</p>
Thanks to Heather Aquino for her contribution to this post.

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