Model’s claim for unemployment compensation rejected

BOSTON (April 17, 2013) – Sheri Pizzi and Jennifer Rousseau recently persuaded a Massachusetts agency panel to reject a model’s claim for unemployment benefits on the basis that she was not employed by their modeling agency client.

The Board of Review of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development determined that the model’s services were not “employment” under the controlling Massachusetts statute (G.L. c. 151A, § 2).

To establish that no employment relationship exists, a company must show three elements under the statute, namely: that a claimant was not under its control or direction; that the services were rendered outside all places of business of the company; and that the services in question were part of an independently established trade, occupation or profession.

The Board of Review found that while the claimant obtained the job assignment in question through the modeling agency, and the modeling agency performed administrative tasks related to payments, most key factors weighed in favor of determining that the claimant was self-employed.

For example, the model was not trained by the agency, and she was hired for a freelance job that took place outside the modeling agency’s place of business. The agency’s client, and not the agency, directed all aspects of the modeling assignment.

Under the arrangement between the modeling agency and the claimant, she could refuse an assignment from the modeling agency and was free to obtain modeling jobs through other agencies. Potential clients could contact the model directly as well.

“We are pleased with the result. The Board of Review correctly applied the controlling law to the working relationship at issue,” Pizzi said.

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