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Workers' Compensation

Washington: Courier Drivers Were “Workers” and Not Independent Contractors

A state appellate court agreed with the Washington Department of Labor and Industries that 33 drivers who contracted with a company to perform courier services for third parties were “workers” within the meaning of Wash. Rev. Code § 51.08.180, and penalties assessed against the company were appropriate because of its failure to pay appropriate premiums for 2010, the year audited. The court held that the drivers’ use of personal vehicles did not constitute the provision of “special equipment” and was more in the nature of the use of ordinary equipment. The court also observed that since the drivers did not employ others to do any part of their work, the essence of their work was personal labor. Moreover, the exception provided by Wash. Rev. Code § 51.08.195 did not apply because the drivers operated under the company’s direction and control.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is the co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Henry Indus., Inc. v. Department of Labor & Indus., 2016 Wash. App. LEXIS 2086 (Aug. 29, 2016)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 60.02.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law