Legal Hotline: (844) 804-2016

Company e-mail address Q&A


Mike Zinser

Question: An independent contractor salesperson has inquired whether it would be possible for him to get a company e-mail address to use when selling. He thinks it would give him more credibility. Is this something that we can do?

Answer: It would be independent contractor-unfriendly to give an independent contractor a company e-mail address, as you would assign to a regular employee. From an independent contractor point of view, it is important that the contractor not be provided a company e-mail address, business card, uniform, signs to place on his/her vehicle identifying the individual as representing the publishing company, or the ability to utilize the company logo. Caselaw makes this clear. If the newspaper in this example gives the independent contractor a company e-mail address, that would be considered a piece of evidence of employee status.

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

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.


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