Prior to the very recent case of D’Annunzio v. Prudential Ins. Co. of America, — A.2d —-, 2005 WL 3789960 (App. Div. 2006), in most cases, independent contractors, were not covered under CEPA similar to the LAD. The Appellate Division expanded CEPA’s coverage to include not only common law employees, but also many independent contractors. The Court held that the definition of “employee” under CEPA is broader than the definition under the LAD, and rejected the analysis set forth in Pukowsky v. Caruso, 312 N.J.Super. 171, 711 A.2d 398 (App.Div.1998) The Court set forth a broad new test for determining whether a person is to be considered an “employee” for purposes of CEPA.
As a result, we hold that independent contractors are not necessarily excluded and that only the first (“the employer’s right to control the means and manner of the worker’s performance”), second (“the kind of occupation-supervised or unsupervised”) fourth (“who furnishes the equipment and workplace”) and seventh (“the manner of termination of the work relationship”) factors contained in Pukowsky, supra, 312 N.J.Super. at 182-83, 711 A.2d 398, have relevance, and we conclude that those factors provide an appropriate guide for identifying those workers who fit CEPA’s definition of “employee.”
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Our holding is particularly compelled by CEPA’s primary purpose, which is to encourage workers to voice concerns about the unlawful activities of employers and co-workers. CEPA exhibits no particular interest in regulating the terms of the employer-worker relationship, except to preclude retaliation, when the worker acts in the interests of the health, safety and welfare of the public.
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