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Friday, December 22, 2023

Should Joaquin's Joker Be Getting a Classification Lawyer Around Holiday TIme?

The question of whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor has been around for many years.  The question has numerous consequences for tax purposes, and there is significant tax authority on the point.  The issue has relevance in the ERISA world in many contexts, not the least of which are treatment under 401(a)(2) for qualified plans, issues under a host of tax provisions governing welfare benefits, coverage by ERISA itself, and the like.  The benefits side of the issue made a huge splash with the Microsoft case.  And then there's the whole kerfuffle (what a great word (for all you Judge Judy and Better Call Saul fans)) on the regulatory side relating to gig workers in the modern and evolving economy.

Well, now it appears that Joaquin Phoenix's Joker may well need a lawyer, although not for the reasons you might expect.  Was Arthur Fleck, who we now know was working as a real-life clown prior to his ascension to Joker status, classified by his service recipient (who had quite the tough go of it) as an employee or was he left to the vagaries of independent-contractor status?  The case of Angulo v., Inc. (S.D.N.Y.) may be of interest to Arthur, and he may need to decide whether to opt in or out (if he's in the right jurisdiction).  Maybe Joker 2 will shed some more light on the applicable legal intricacies?  Other iterations of the oh-so-festive Clown Prince have also brought about express clown references to our (anti-)hero. 

And, speaking of festive (yes, I strained pretty hard to find a connection that would allow me to write this paragraph), it is, of course, Holiday time.  So I will refer you to my most recent post about Xmas music and to a post about the holiday that (with apologies to Seinfeld's Festivus) I've attempted to establish. 

Merry and Happy ChristmaHanuZaa and Happy New Year!

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