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Unemployment Insurance - Worker Classification

Part 1: Control or Direction - General Private Employers

Factor One - Comply with Instructions (Case Studies)

Whether the individual is required to comply with instructions concerning how to perform the services.

Note: This factor in the new law is based upon employment status criteria found in older laws, as well as in the current law applicable to government units and nonprofit organizations. Therefore, cases decided under the new law are listed first, and the relevant cases decided under the other laws follow.

Case Studies relevant to Factor One

LIRC Decisions

Required to comply with instructions:

  • Thomas v. Renaissance Nutrition, Inc., UI Dec. Hearing No. 12401755AP (LIRC Oct. 30, 2012) – David Thomas performed services as a salesperson for Renaissance Nutrition, Inc., a manufacturer of vitamins and supplements for dairy livestock. He received specific instructions in his written agreement with Renaissance about policies and procedures to be followed in performing his services.

  • Schumacher v. Spar Marketing Services, Inc., UI Dec. Hearing No. 11203182EC (LIRC Mar. 21, 2012) – Sherry Schumacher performed services as a merchandiser for Spar Marketing Services, Inc., a merchandising company. She received ongoing instructions from Spar about how to perform her services, and received regular advice and directions from Spar’s district manager. NOTE: This case includes analyses of employment status under both the old law and the new law.

  • Bentheimer v. Bankers Life & Casualty Company, UI Dec. Hearing No. 10006546JV (LIRC Aug. 16, 2011) – Kathleen Bentheimer performed services as an insurance salesperson for Bankers Life & Casualty Company, an insurance company. She was required to comply with all policies, practices, and procedures of Bankers Life, to use business cards, brochures, and sales items approved by Bankers Life, and to attend meetings at Bankers Life’s office. NOTE: This case includes analyses of employment status under both the old law and the new law.

Not required to comply with instructions:

  • Rohland v. GO2 IT Group, UI Dec. Hearing No. 12202959EC (LIRC Feb. 14, 2013) aff’d sub nom. Career Connections Staffing Services, Inc. v. LIRC, No. 13-CV-179 (Wis. Cir. Ct. La Crosse Cnty. Oct. 23, 2013) – Albert Rohland performed services as an IT specialist for GO2 IT Group, a staffing agency. Although he received necessary information about the equipment he was working on, he received no instructions from GO2 IT as to how to perform his services.

  • Ziburski v. Castforce Inc., UI Dec. Hearing No. 13202144EC (LIRC Nov. 22, 2013) – Patricia Ziburski, a merchandiser, performed merchandising services for Castforce, Inc., a retail merchandising business. Although she received instructions concerning how to perform her merchandising services from Castforce, those instructions were imposed by Castforce’s clients for each assignment, and not by Castforce. Although communicated by Castforce, such instructions are not the kind of control or direction considered in this factor. See also Nations Carelink LLC, UI Dec. Hearing No. S0800037MD (LIRC Dec. 17, 2008) (under condition 4 of the old law dealing with the issue of controlling the performance of services).

  • Owen Jensen, UI Dec. Hearing No. 11401161AP (LIRC Aug. 19, 2011) – Owen Jensen wrote scripts and narrated instructional videos for an Illinois business that produced instructional video presentations involving insurance products. Although the business provided him with information as to what each assignment would involve, he had an enormous amount of autonomy in determining how to perform his services and was not subject to instructions from the business relating to how to perform those services. NOTE: This case includes analyses of employment status under both the old law and the new law.

LIRC case decided under law applicable to government units and nonprofit organizations

  • Williams v. MTEC, UI Dec. Hearing No. 07604021MW (LIRC Nov. 21, 2007) - Katie Williams taught a course in the master's degree program at the Milwaukee Teacher Education Center (MTEC) during the 2006 school year. She also provided a three hour science lab program to 20 school districts during the same time period. LIRC found that she was free of MTEC's direction and control. She was free to independently develop the course syllabus/instruction plan, utilize whatever instructional techniques she chose, develop examinations and other assessment tools, and grade the students' accomplishments. MTEC did not tell her how to teach her course, nor did it control her teaching methods.

Further Reading and Research

Read and research further LIRC, circuit court and court of appeals cases on Factor One:

  • EE 450.01a - Employee - s. 108.02(12)(bm)1.a. - instructions for completing services.

Relevant cases under the law for government units and nonprofit organizations:

  • EE 411 s.108.02 (12) (c) direction and control/independently established tests, generally
  • EE 412 - Employee - s.108.02 (12) (c) 1. - "direction and control"