Rio Rancho, NM asked in Business Law and Employment Law for New Mexico

Q: In NM, is it legal to allow independant contractors to wear the business logo of the company that hires them?

It sounds ridiculous to me, but someone has told me that it's illegal to allow independant contractors (massage therapists in this case) to wear t-shirts with the logo of the company that has hired them. The t-shirts are worn at events voluntarily by the contractors to help advertise for the business that brings them work, to help bring in more work. In essence, they're voluntarily advertising for the company to benefit themselves. I've never heard of wearing a companies logo being illegal. No one is claiming to be a direct employee of the company, it's very clear that they are independant contractors, it's voluntary, and the t-shirts are available for purchase as well as given away often during promotions. So, now I'm curious, are there actually laws about this?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Trent A. Howell
Trent A. Howell
  • Santa Fe, NM
  • Licensed in New Mexico

A: Someone is confusing the issue. The question is not whether it is "legal," but whether wearing a company logo may suggest an individual is an employee rather than an independent contractor of that company. There are different definitions and factors to determine "employee" status under different statutes. For example, the IRS has a 20-factor test, and courts consider several other factors under the FLSA (federal minimum wage law). Wearing a company logo, alone, is not enough to make someone an employee, without considering the other circumstances of the relationship.

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