Hanson v. Transportation General, Inc.
245 Conn. 613 (1998)
- The decedent, under an owner-operator agreement, drove a Metro cab from 1987 until he was murdered on the job in 1990.
- The plaintiff, Janet Hanson, the surviving spouse filed a workers’ compensation claim to recover survivor benefits.
- The compensation commissioner for the third district dismissed Hanson’s claim.
- He was an independent contractor and not an employee of Metro.
- The compensation review board affirmed.
- The Appellate Court affirmed.
Whether an owner-operator of a taxicab qualifies as an employee of the taxicab company with which he contracted to provide taxicab service.
- First, the court stuck with the longstanding “right to control” test as opposed to the “relative nature of the work” test.
- The “right to control” test determines the relationship between a worker and a putative employer by asking whether the putative employer has “the right to control the means and methods” used by the worker in the performance of his or her job.
- Here, Metro purposely took care to avoid such indicia of control:
- Drivers could set their own hours;
- Work anywhere in the Metro service area;
- Refuse to accept dispatch calls;
- Hire a second driver for the cab;
- Had sole responsibility for all expenses related to operation of their cabs;
- Had the right to regain total ownership rights to their cabs upon the termination of their relationship with Metro;
- Metro did not pay any salary or fringe benefits to the drivers; and
- Did not require the drivers to report their fares to Metro.
- Thus, the driver was an independent contractor.
Rule: The “right to control” test is the appropriate test for determining the employer-employee relationship.