Workers Comp (Employer-Employee Relationship): HUBBARD V. HENRY [COA 9/8/2006]

WORKERS COMP:  Employer-employee Relationship
DATE RENDERED:  9/8/2006

Henry offered his services to Hubbard as a tree cutter. Hubbard let him start without making an agreement as to pay, and both testified that the first day was on a trial basis. He was injured on the job site on the first day when a tree limb fell on his head. The ALJ ruled that there was no employment contract and therefore there was no workers’ compensation coverage. The Workers’ Compensation Board reversed, finding that an expectation of hiring created enough of an employment relationship to satisfy the requirement that a person is working for an employer. The Court affirmed, reasoning that since the tryout period benefits the employer, the risks of the employment should be covered when the work begins, not when the pay begins. The premise of workers’ compensation is the relative ability of the employee and employer to spread the risk of injury, and since the injury arose from the work being done for Hubbard, Henry’s injury was covered by workers’ compensation.

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