North Carolina amends worker comp law
Aug 1, 2003 12:00 PM
A coalition of 11 motor carriers that use independent contractors in their operations successfully ended a two-year legislative battle to have North Carolina recognize independent contractors in the interstate motor carrier industry as such and not “per se” employees for purposes of worker compensation.
The “per se” status was established by a 1947 decision of the state's Supreme Court based on the federal safety regulations' provision regarding “sole possession and control” and “assumption of complete responsibility.” North Carolina was the only state that reached this conclusion.
Safety regulations were amended in 1997 to include a provision noting that the above-referenced provision did not bear on or preclude an independent contractor relationship.
The amendment did not result in any change of North Carolina law until James C Hardman, while general counsel of Dart Transit Co of Eagan MN, raised the issue and formed the Independent Contractor Exemption (ICE) coalition with Dart's support.
Besides the motor carrier coalition members, the American Trucking Associations and the North Carolina Trucking Association supported the effort that successfully terminated June 23 when Gov Michael F Easley signed a bill making independent contractors under the common law exempt from worker compensation coverage.
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