In an action filed by insurance agents working under independent contractor agreements with an insurer, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio found the agents were employees who could pursue pension and other employment benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”).  To reach its holding, the Court analyzed various factors.  The Court focused on the express agreements between the parties, the employer’s ability to assign projects and control its agents’ job performance, and the employment opportunities available through the employer.  Ultimately, the court concluded that the degree of control managers were encouraged to exercise over the agents was inconsistent with independent contractor status. While the Court found in favor of the insurance agents, it certified the ruling for immediate interlocutory appeal, notably because prior case law has been nearly unanimous in finding agents are independent contractors, and because the repercussions of this finding are so far-reaching for the industry.  Employers should keep this case on their radar and consult with counsel to determine appropriate classifications.  Jammal v. American Family Insurance Group, et al., 2017 WL 3268032 (N.D. Ohio Aug. 1, 2017).