Ivy League Connection, Inc. provides in-home tutoring services to clients seeking help with schoolwork and test preparation. In 2012, Ivy League was assessed for unspecified unemployment insurance contributions for its tutors who worked for Ivy League beginning from early 2009. In an effort to limit its unemployment insurance costs, Ivy League objected to this assessment and argued that its tutors were independent contractors, not employees. The assessment was upheld, and the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board affirmed the decision. Ivy League then appealed.
On July 24, 2014, the Appellate Division, Third Department, affirmed the Board’s decision. The court found that Ivy League tutors were in fact employees. The court applied a test that establishes an employer-employee relationship when an organization screens the services of professionals, pays them a set rate and then offers their services to clients. The Court held that because Ivy League screened, interviewed and conducted a criminal background check on tutors, paid tutors an hourly rate based on submitted documentation and matched clients with a tutor that it deemed best suited for the client’s needs, the tutors are considered to be employees. Moreover, the court stated that Ivy League’s non-solicitation agreement with the tutors was further indicative of an employer-employee relationship.
The full decision can be viewed here.