McCall vs. Alabama Bruno’s, Inc., 647 So.2d 175 (Fla. 1st DCA 1994): Florida follows the general rule that the employer of an independent contractor is not liable for the contractor’s negligence because the employer has no control over the manner in which the work is done, except when one of three exceptions apply. Those exceptions involve:
Negligence in selecting, instructing or supervising the contractor;
Non-delegable duties arising out of some relation toward the public or the particular plaintiff;
Work which is specially, peculiarly, or “inherently” dangerous.
Restatement (2d) Torts Sect. 416. Rules imposing vicarious liability on employers for the acts of independent contractors arise “in situations where, for reasons of policy, the employer is not permitted to shift the responsibility for the proper conduct of the work to the contractor” and it is commonly stated that “the employer is under a duty which he is not free to delegate to the contractor.” Nondelegable duties have been found under Florida law to arise out of “inherently dangerous activity,” activity involving “inherently dangerous elements,” or out of the creation of an “inherently dangerous condition.”
Webb vs. Priest, 413 So.2d 43 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1982): The general rule in Florida is that an owner is not liable for the acts of an independent contractor except when (a) the activity is inherently dangerous (see Ferguson vs. Westinghouse, 408 So.2d 659 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1981)); (b) the owner/employer had contractually assumed responsibility (Levitz vs. Continental Equities, 411 So.2d 221 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1982)); (c) there is legally imposed responsibility (Concord Florida vs. Lewin, 341 So.2d 242 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1977)); (d) the owner/employer knew or had reason to know that the independent contractor would not perform in a satisfactory manner (Williams vs. Wometco Enterprises, 287 So.2d 353 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1974)); (e) where the independent contractor had apparent authority to act on behalf of the owner/employer (Thomkin Corp. vs. Miller, 156 Fla. 388, 24 So.2d 48 (Fla. 1945).
Fisherman’s Paradise vs. Greenfield, 417 So.2d 306 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1982): Whether an entity may be held liable for an independent contractor’s negligent conduct is subject to a factual determination. Crawford vs. Florida Steel Corp., 478 So.2d 855 (Fla. 1st DCA 1985); Strickland vs. Progressive, 468 So.2d 525 (Fla. 1st DCA 1985); Roark vs. Peters, 242 So.2d 199 (Fla. 1st DCA 1970); McEvoy vs. Union Oil, 552 So.2d 1169 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1989).
U.S. Security Services v. Ramada Inn, 665 So. 2d 268 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1995): A landowner may contract out the performance of his non-delegable duty to an independent contractor, but he cannot contract out of his ultimate legal responsibility for the proper performance of his duty by the independent contractor; the landowner is always responsible for the proper performance of this non-delegable duty, whether performed by himself, an employee, or an independent contractor.
Campbell vs. Bellman, 293 So.2d 795: An owner cannot escape liability for negligence of either a subcontractor or an independent contractor. See, also, Armiger v. Clean Sweep Supply Company, 48 So.3d 864 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2010).
Employers are vicariously liable for the negligent acts or omissions committed by their employees in the course and scope of their employment. … By contract, as a general rule, employers are not liable for the acts of independent contractors unless the work is “inherently dangerous activity
The independent contractor is responsible for filing and paying taxes on income earned from a client. … The independent contractor must obtain all Form 1099s from income earned during the year and file with the Internal Revenue Service and the state revenue office, if the state collects state income tax, but in Florida there is no state tax
By definition, independent contractors are able to dictate their schedules. This means that employers cannot tell an independent contractor when to work unless they want to give the worker the benefits of a true employee.
Even workers who accept their pay and sign contracts as independent contractors can still sue claiming they are really employees. The last is often a shock to employers. Signing a contract does not prevent the worker from suing and winning. … Independent contractors aren’t covered, assuming their status is legitimate.
Right to Know Where You Stand
Often, an employer will misclassify an employee as an independent contractor to avoid paying payroll taxes. While the IRS is cracking down on employers, it may be up to you to determine whether you’re an independent contractor or an employee.
An employee can be fired by an employer. An independent contractor cannot be fired so long as he or she produces a result that meets the specifications of the contract. Training. … However, independent contractors ordinarily use their own methods and receive no training from the employer.
Independent contractors have the right to decide when, where, and how a given project should be completed. If you are an independent contractor, the persons or businesses hiring you are not entitled to direct your work. If they do so, that makes them employers, and you an employee.
Right to a Contract
This is less a legal right and more like a really, really good idea. You want your client to know exactly what to expect from you, and exactly what you expect from the client.
Just like a standard employment contract, a formal independent contractor agreement, including the parameters of the project and the time or method of compensation. A concise agreement can keep everyone on the same page in terms of productivity and payment.
It may be difficult to conceptualize, but as an independent contractor, you’re the boss. The person or company paying you isn’t your employer, but more your client.
Therefore, independent contractors have the right to decide when, where, and how a given project should be completed. If you are an independent contractor, the persons or businesses hiring you are not entitled to direct your work. If they do so, that makes them employers, and you an employee.
Right to Be Paid
Just because you’re not technically an employee doesn’t mean you can’t get paid. And just because your clients don’t have to adhere to certain tax requirements doesn’t mean they can skirt certain wage and hour laws..
What it does mean, however, is that your payment will be determined by your contracting agreement. Make sure your agreement specifically details how, when, and how much you will be compensated, and make sure your client follows the agreement.
Right to Know Where You Stand
Often, an employer will mis-classify an employee as an independent contractor to avoid paying payroll taxes. While theIRS is cracking down on employers, it may be up to you to determine whether you’re an independent contractor or an employee.