17. Employee Status

Wiggers v Olsen Seawall Construction Co – 17.08

Wiggers v Olsen Seawall Construction Co
Digest no. 17.08

Section 42

Cite as: Wiggers v Olsen Seawall Construction Co, unpublished opinion of the Muskegon Circuit Court, issued April 21, 1980 (No. 79-13578 AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: David Wiggers
Employer: Olsen Seawall Construction Co.
Docket no.: L77 6884 1537
Date of decision: April 21, 1980

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Where a construction laborer is hired and paid by a subcontractor, and the tools and material are furnished by the general contractor, the laborer is not an employee of the general contractor.

FACTS: The Referee stated: “[T]he partners hired one Tom Nelson as a subcontractor to provide labor for the construction work. He hired the labor for the jobs, kept the time, and each Friday he paid the men in cash.” The claimant was one of the laborers.

DECISION: The claimant was not an employee of Olsen Seawall Construction Co.

RATIONALE: “Testimony is that the workers, after 1974, were completely hired and fired by Mr. Nelson and under his direction for the entire time. The Olsen Seawall Company was still the one the cottage owner dealt with and Olsen did indicate where to put the seawall and how long it was to be. There is testimony that on occasion the per foot costs were changed, and these were discussed with Mr. Nelson, which would be consistent with an independent contractor since if he is to obtain the labor cost as his portion of the contract then he would be consulted, and if he were paid on an hourly basis there would be no basis for consulting with him. It was testified that this was varied when the jobs were difficult or easy. This is also consistent with the independent contractor. The fact that the tools are owned by the Olsens and the fact that they paid for the lumber and additional nuts and bolts which were included in the bid and the pricing method, is not inconsistent with the concept of the independent contractor; and the fact that one of the Olsens would occasionally assist when he was present at the work-site, is not inconsistent with an independent contractor relationship.”

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 11/90