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Written By: Susan Preston
There has been much talk in the media about independent contractors vs. employees. California passed a law in 2019 requiring businesses make most independent contractors into employees although it appears the beauty business is exempt from this new regulation. We at PPIB are not attorneys so it might be worthwhile checking with one if you have any questions on the applicability of the new law. This article is about the liability associated with beauty industry professionals and these issues are nationwide.
If there is a lawsuit against someone working in a salon, the individual who did the work is likely to get sued as well as the salon owner. In an ideal world, the responsibility for a problem in a salon should be the person offering the service. However, professionals must understand you cannot control who an unhappy individual will sue. Anybody and everybody remotely connected to the perceived problem could get named in the suit.
Salon owners need to treat everyone working in the salon in the exact same manner. We see some salons where the owners require all beauty professionals be an employee. This scenario has some advantages: everyone can use the same credit card system, the individual names can be on marketing websites or flyers with the salon name and the salon owner takes care of all the insurance. The salon owner will then be protected from acts of the professionals assuming there is proper insurance in place.
Most salon professionals work on their own, take care of their equipment and chair rental, and purchase their own insurance. This situation can work out fine as long as handled properly. The salon owner should require all professionals have their own general and professional liability insurance and name the salon owner or person holding the lease as additional insured. Then if the salon owner and/or leaseholder are sued, the professional's policy will defend them. There should be a contract making it clear the salon professional is not an employee and is required to have insurance and their own business identity.
The bottom line is insurance is needed for all professionals and business owners and in these complicated times the salon owner is advised to get legal help to be sure the independent contractor relationship will comply with state law.
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