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RJ Enterprises LLC of Oregon v. DCBS

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 02-27-2013
Case #: A143127
Duncan, J. for the Court; Haselton, C.J.; and Armstrong, P.J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A143127.pdf

Workers Compensation: A person subject to the employer’s direction, control, and who provides services for remuneration is a subject worker within the meaning of workers' compensation law.

RJ Enterprises LLC (RJ) sought review of the Department of Consumer and Business Services order. RJ is a frozen meat distributing company that uses truck drivers to deliver its products. The relationship between RJ and the drivers is governed by an independent contractor agreement which contains numerous provisions regarding meat quality, procedure for dealing with consumers, truck maintenance, and liability. The drivers make their own schedules and delivery routes. They lease refrigerated trucks from RJ, and are paid the amount of their sales less the cost of the lease and the products. SAIF determined that the drivers are subject workers. An ALJ determined that the drivers should be covered by workers’ compensation. DCBS upheld the ALJ’s decision, and RJ appealed. The Court determined that the drivers were subject to RJ’s direction and control. Under the right to control test, the drivers are workers. RJ had a right to control the drivers, even though RJ limited some of its control, and RJ furnished the majority of the equipment to the drivers. Under the nature of work test, the drivers are workers due to the character of the drivers’ business and the close relationship of the drivers’ work to RJ. Despite RJ’s characterization of the relationship, RJ was essentially a retail establishment that paid the drivers on commission. The drivers are workers because they were subject to RJ’s direction and control, and provided services for remuneration. Affirmed.