Independent Contractor: Elements: Furnishing of Equipment

Hallquist v. Independent Contractor Central Unit [06/10/10] 2010 MTWCC 16 Several auto mechanics worked out of the same shop and each owned an extensive collection of personal hand tools which were freely shared as needed.  The lifts and air compressor were fixtures of the building and owned by the landlord.  The alleged employer owned a parts washer personally, and his business owned a spray wash cabinet, both of which were used by the other mechanics.  While the alleged employer’s ownership of some equipment suggests in an almost negligible way that he had an employer-employee relationship with the mechanics, the Court found this entitled to only a small amount of weight given the way that the mechanics in this shop shared the work space and their tools.

Emergency Preparedness Systems v. Scobie [08/17/09] 2009 MTWCC 28 The furnishing of equipment is strong evidence of control and by itself is sufficient to establish status as an employee. Where the employee facilitated the sale of TEMPS beds, recruited distributors through phone, e-mail, and travel to conferences around the country and the employer reimbursed the employee for all the travel-related expenses he submitted, and provided him with promotional materials, business cards identifying him as “Sales Director” for the company, and letterhead and envelopes that bore the company’s logo, the Court held that this factor weighed in favor of employee status.