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Timothy Smith
Timothy Smith, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 1921
Experience:  In-House Counsel for State's Largest Agency
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I work as an independent contractor - Firm A recruits me to

Resolved Question:

I work as an independent contractor - Firm A recruits me to work for large corporation B for a set contract (e.g., 6 months). Corporation B pays Firm A a set hourly rate for my work performed and Firm A then pays me a portion of the hourly rate via W2 wages. My current contract is through August 19. Corporation B was planning to establish a new contract with me for the next phase of the project given they are happy with my work. That is until I told them I have jury duty coming up.

I have been summoned for jury duty August 19-30 in Hennepin County, Minnesota (jury duty starts the last day of my contract). I have already postponed jury duty once so cannot postpone it again. I have been placed on the call in list so it's possible I will only need to call in every day for 2 wks and never go to court. The uncertainty of the situation is causing Corporation B to consider the following options and I wonder if they're legal:
- allow my contract to lapse and renew it to start again Sept 2
- allow my contract to lapse and replace me with someone else
- renew my contract and know I may not work 100% of the time during jury duty and they would only be responsible for paying my hours worked (this should be fine).

I would appreciate your perspective on my situation. Thank you.
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Timothy Smith replied 12 months ago.
I hope this message finds you well. As a matter of legal course, all three options proposed by Corp B are legal so long as they do not infringe upon some other contractual right that is either obligated to your or to Firm A.

Corporation B does not have to keep you. To that point, I would be willing to bet that there is contractual language that allows them to stop using your service at any time if they feel unsatisfied. That is harsh, but it is the way the employment law world works.

As such, Corporation B can choose to enact either of the three options that you have listed above. The third listed option appears to be the best for all parties involved in that they continue to have your services available without a break, you continue to have employment without a break and firm A continues to receive payment for facilitating your services. Business efficiencies, as you know, revolve largely around continuity. If you have the opportunity to speak with anyone at Corporation B about the issue, make the suggestion that option 3 is your preference and then explain your rational as it relates to continuity within their operation. Make them the point of the talk and what is best for them in view of the work you have performed up to this point and what you intend to do going forward. The by-product is your continued employment.

In summary, all three options are completely legal unless violative of some other contractual arrangement, which is probably unlikely. The third option is the best for you under the circumstances as well as for the other two parties as well, both legally and from a continuity standpoint.

Let me know if you have any additional questions or comments.

Best wishes going forward.
Timothy Smith, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 1921
Experience: In-House Counsel for State's Largest Agency
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