The Alaska Workers Compensation Board handed an employee victory on January 5, 2016 in the case of Gerlach v Liberty Mutual Insurance Co, Decision No. 16-0003. In that case the employer denied that the claimant was an “employee” as defined by Alaska law. The Board found otherwise.
Whether an employee is an “employee” or an “independent contractor” determines whether he is entitled to workers compensation benefits. An employee gets benefits. An independent contractor does not.
In applying the six factor “relative nature of the work” test, the Board found there was sufficient evidence to support an inference of an employer-employee relationship. The factors which the Board found decisive in this case were: the remodeling and maintenance of the fishing lodge was a regular part of the business, the employee wasn’t paid enough for him to secure his own insurance, the employee was hired on a continuance basis (rather than for a particular project), the employer exercised control over the employee’s work, and the maintenance tasks required little or no skill.
Keenan Powell has practiced Workers Compensation law in the State of Alaska for over 30 years and has dedicated her practice to Workers Compensation representing injured Alaskans. www.keenanpowell.com.
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