On Tuesday, May 13, 2014, the Colorado Supreme Court issued two decisions that provide a glimmer of hope for businesses waging the war with state government agencies over the classification of workers as independent contractors.
The cases are:
- Industrial Claim Appeals Office v. Softrock Geological Services, Inc. et al. (involving the classification of 1 geologist)
- Western Logistics, Inc. d/b/a Diligent Delivery Systems v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office et al. (involving the classification of 220 delivery drivers)
Both cases involve whether an individual is an “independent contractor” under the Colorado Employment Security Act, C.R.S. 8-70-115. Both cases arose as a result of audits conducted by the Colorado Division of Employment and Training (aka Division of Unemployment Insurance). And, both cases originally found the businesses to be liable for unemployment compensation premiums due. In other words, for the most part, the Division (the auditor, the Hearing Officer(s) and/or the Industrial Claim Appeals Office) found that the workers in question should be classified as employees, and therefore, the companies owed back taxes for unemployment insurance premiums, interest, and going forward contributions. The businesses appealed.