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Washington: Employee Mischaracterization Results in $1 Million Assessment in Premiums, Penalties and Interest

June 16, 2019 (1 min read)

A Washington appellate court recently affirmed an assessment of almost $1 million in workers’ compensation premiums, penalties, and interest against a Seattle delivery service company that had argued its drivers were independent contractors and not employees. The company’s business model was somewhat like that employed by Uber and Lyft, using a dispatcher “app” to notify drivers of available work. Drivers signed independent contractor agreements with the company, but the latter did exert considerable control over the activities of the drivers, the court held. Reviewing the totality of the arrangement, the court agreed that the delivery company placed greater emphasis on how the drivers interacted with its customers than it did on the equipment the drivers used. The court also held Washington’s special, leased-truck exception to employment did not apply.

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

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Delivery Express, Inc. v. Department of Labor & Indus., 2019 Wash. App. LEXIS 1465 (June 10, 2019)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 61.03.

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

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see