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Oregon court reverses ALJ and finds maintenance workers to be independent contractors

Noting that Oregon law does not require a worker to be free from all direction and control in order to be considered an “independent contractor” for purposes of unemployment insurance, an Oregon Court of Appeals reversed an Administrative Law Judge’s (ALJ) decision sustaining the assessment of a tax with respect to individuals who provided maintenance and cleaning services to a property management company. Although the company reviewed their work and required satisfactory completion for payment, the individuals could reject assignments, hire assistants without approval, and generally set their own schedules and use their own tools. As a result, they were free from control over the means and manner of their work and the first of two requirements for independent contractor status were met. As to the second element, however, the appeals court found that further proceedings were necessary to determine whether each individual engaged in an “independently established business” within the meaning of the UI law (Ponderosa Properties, LLC v. DE, Ore. Ct. of App., No. A150764, April 23, 2014).