Whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor is critical when it comes to such important issues as pension eligibility, workers' compensation coverage, wage and hour law, and many other matters. In some situations, federal law will govern, but the question is most often resolved by looking to state law, particularly in areas such as unemployment tax liability, workers' compensation, and state wage and hour requirements.
There is no single, established definition of “independent contractor” under South Carolina law. It is a fact-intensive analysis in which courts rely primarily on a right -to -control test to determine employment classifications. The control test generally assesses whether the employer has the right to direct and control the work of the individual. The court looks to a variety of factors to determine whether the right to control is present, and no one factor is dispositive. For general purposes, the definition of an “independent contractor” has been developed by case law in South Carolina as one who:
• Exercises independent employment;
• Contracts to do a piece of work according to his or her own methods; and
• Is not subject to the control of his or her employer except for the result of the work (Chavis v. Watkins, 180 S.E.2d 648, 649 (S.C. 1971)).