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In Pennsylvania, Failure to Deny Employee Status Does Not Admit Employment Relationship

The website RiskandInsurance.com recently discussed a ruling by the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board that upheld the denial of a worker’s petition for benefits because he did not establish an employer-employee relationship.

According to the article, the worker was a plumber who injured his arm while on the job. The company’s owner stated that the plumber arrived at a jobsite one day and asked to work. The company’s owner stated that he hired the plumber as a contractor. Although the company’s owner provided large tools, he did not supply the hand tools, a truck, or training. As a result, the plumber’s claim was denied because he was not an employee of the company. When the plumber argued that the company admitted the existence of an employment relationship by referring to him as an employee in the company’s answer to his petition, the board rejected his argument. The board said that a party’s overall characterizations in its pleadings do not constitute admissions of legal matters.

The article summarizes that, in Pennsylvania, an employer’s failure to specifically deny the existence of an employment relationship does not automatically admit an employment relationship existed. To establish an employer-employee relationship, a worker must show that the employer exercised sufficient control over his or her work.