The Third Department determined a foreign language interpreter (linguist) was an employee of Legal Interpreting Services (LIS) entitled to unemployment insurance benefits:
The record establishes that LIS recruits through advertisements in newspapers and social media. Before adding an individual to its database of available interpreters, LIS recruiters meet with the applicant, review his or her resume, request certain personal identification information and negotiate his or her hourly pay rate. Claimants signed contracts, which set forth rules and regulations governing their conduct when providing translation or interpretation services. Although the principal of LIS testified that the rules and regulations were included at the insistence of certain customers and were merely “suggestions,” the contracts were drafted by an attorney hired by LIS and printed on LIS letterhead and do not indicate that the rules and regulations were merely suggestions.
When clients contacted LIS to request interpretation services, LIS selected a linguist from its database and provided that linguist with the specifics of the assignment, including the languages required and the date, time and location. Linguists were free to accept or decline assignments at their convenience. However, once they accepted an assignment, the linguists were required to notify LIS if they were running late, were unable to complete the assignment or were sending a substitute in their stead. With respect to pay, LIS required the linguists to submit time sheets, billed its clients and paid its linguists prior to receiving payment from those clients. A linguist’s payment was not contingent upon the client’s payment of the bill. Matter of Bin Yuan (Legal Interpreting Servs., Inc.–Commissioner of Labor), 2016 NY Slip Op 05200, 3rd Dept 6-30-16
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE (INTERPRETER WAS AN EMPLOYEE)