Posted on Wednesday, February 21st, 2024.

In a long-awaited decision, the New Jersey Appellate Division ruled in favor of Jim Prusinowski’s client, JerseyShore Reporting, that court reporters working in New Jersey through a court reporting agency, are exempt from contributing to unemployment taxes because they are not employees.

Since 2013 the New Jersey Department of Labor has claimed that a court reporting agency, Jersey Shore Reporting, (and all court reporters in the state) was liable to the New Jersey Unemployment Compensation fund for thousands of dollars, classifying court reporters as employees. However, since their inception, court reporters have been believed to be independent contractors and in 2010 the New Jersey Legislatures codified their independence into law.

Prior to the 2010 amendment, court reporters were not singled out as being independent. Instead, they needed to meet the generally applicable ABC test which looks to independence, location or type of work, and ability to continue in business if an engagement ends.

While the DOL argued that the statutory amendment did not change the requirement to show independence, the Appellate Division gave the Legislature credit for its expertise and acknowledged that the plain language of the law classifies court reporters as independent contractors. According to the Appellate Division, the DoL’s interpretation of the statute was clearly wrong and not supported by its language or the legislative history.

 “We are pleased that the Appellate Division has confirmed the statute is clear on its face and applies without the agencies having to provide further evidence of the reports’ independence.  This is an industry of business minded individuals working through ‘brokers’ to acquire work.  The statute, and decision, confirm their business model and operations as solo-preneurs,” said Jim Prusinowski, who argued the case before the Court and has represented JerseyShore reporting through this entire process.

For further information on court reporters as independent contractors or other issues related to independent contractors, consult one of the experienced labor and employee attorneys at Trimboli & Prusinowski, LLC. Call 973-285-1095 to set up an appointment with an experienced attorney who can assist you and your business.

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