Question about privacy concerns with independent contractors
Question: Is it within the legal rights of a publisher to give to a subscriber the name and phone number of the independent contractor who delivers the newspaper to that subscriber? Are there privacy concerns?
Answer: It is considered evidence of independent contractor status if the contractor is able to contact directly his/her subscribers on his/her route. In litigation, I will typically elicit evidence that a subscriber has the right to contact the carrier directly, or to contact customer service about a complaint.
Thus, by all means, it is a good practice to provide subscribers the name and phone number of the independent contractor newspaper carrier delivering to that subscriber. There is no legitimate privacy concern because that subscriber has a business relationship both with the publishing company and the independent contractor newspaper carrier.
Note: Nothing in this SNPA Legal Hotline Q&A should be relied upon as legal advice in any particular matter.
L. Michael Zinser is the founding partner of The Zinser Law Firm in Nashville, Tenn. The firm, which has a heavy concentration of clients in communications media, represents management in the area of labor and employment. Zinser can be reached at (615) 244-9700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SNPA's free Legal Hotline for members – (844) 804-2016 – is designed to assist newspapers with a broad range of legal issues. Hotline attorneys and CPAs will tackle questions about circulation, independent contractors, labor and employment law, taxes, finances and accounting, employment benefits, open records, libel and privacy, and other issues newspapers encounter.
The attorneys and CPAs who will take calls from SNPA member newspapers are the best in the business: The Bussian Law Firm PLLC, Fisher & Phillips, Way, Ray, Shelton & Co., P.C. and The Zinser Law Firm.