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Delta-Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 3546
Experience:  In-House Counsel & Litigator
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My husband worked years at a large sports academy here in

Customer Question

My husband worked for 20 years at a large sports academy here in Bradenton, FL as a golf instructor. In September of 2014, the father of one of his students hired him to be a personal coach to his son. Since the father lives abroad, the only way he would employ my husband was as a 1099 contractor, even though his son took up 100% of my husband's work availability, dictated the work days/times and was his only client. When the son did not turn into Tiger Woods in 10 months, the father pulled the plug on the golf instruction. Our stupidest mistake was to get nothing in writing. Our biggest concern in the initial conversations regarding this job were about what would happen if either party decided that the arrangement was not working. Since we had a very strong friendship with this man and his family, we believed him when he said that he'd find another area in his many businesses to employ my husband. He is a very wealthy entrepreneur. When he decided to pull the plug on his son's golf instruction, he told my husband that he was very pleased with his teaching and that it was not his fault, that his son just didn't have what it takes to be a pro golfer. He said that he'd pay for August and September if my husband didn't find a job by then. Of course, he then recanted and said that my husband would not be receiving any payments from him. We are in a panic financially. We thought we had a pretty strong case for misclassification of his 1099 status (we felt that he had a strong case to be a W2 employee so that we could atleast qualify for unemployment assistance). After 2 brief phone conversations with labor lawyers here in FL, they said that he'd still be a 1099 contractor. We went ahead and applied for unemployment assistance hoping that the prior job would qualify us, but we were just short of the amount of money made in the quarter to qualify. We understand our role in this situation by not getting anything in writing, but do you have any further advice?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Delta-Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

I hope this message finds you well, present circumstances excluded. I am a licensed attorney with over a decade of employment law experience. It is a pleasure to assist you today, though I am sorry that you are having to go through this issue.

Based on what you have shared with me, the advice of the two Florida lawyers is likely correct. That said, in attempting to prove that your husband was not a simply 1099 contractor, you need to be able to put forth evidence, anything you can show, that he was beholden to this client and his father, and therefore did not have autonomy as would be the case with a contractor. Contractors maintain some degree of autonomy in their endeavors relative to employment You may be able to compare and contrast the previous job he held at the academy with the work he did for these people. In essence, he left one full time employer, that maintained control over him and his schedule, to work for another full time employer, that likewise maintained control over his schedule.

The meat of this will be showing that your husband did not have autonomy as would be the case if he were a contractor and being able to show that he had not other jobs of similar nature.

One other issue, though I am not sure it is worth pursuing in the immediate present, is that this person covenanted to you guys that your husband would be paid for August and September and then recanted. This is arguably a verbal contract and you could sue for that money. You need only show offer, acceptance and consideration (that you guys relied on this guy's word to your detriment). That suit can wait while you handle the immediate issues, but it is likely there for the taking if you choose once you get squared away financially in the present time.

So, in summary, you need to be able to show that your husband was exclusively beholden to this man and his son. This can be showing texts, emails, sworn statements you guys sign, etc. It can be shown by check receipts or deposits of the same amount month after month.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Please rate my answer positively as well.

Best wishes going forward!

Expert:  Delta-Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

Did you have any other questions or comments? I just want to make sure you are as comfortable as possible as you guys move forward with this issue. Thanks

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