Sample IRAC Analysis
Chapter 2, Question 1, page 56
Note: I am changing the question so that it asks whether the workers are employees under the common law test since the common law test is one of the two tests I want you to focus on.
Employer sells magazine subscriptions. Employer hired
home workers to find telephone numbers for potential
subscribers. These workers were subject to relatively few
requirements as to how they were to carry out their work, but
they were required to sign a contract stating they were
independent contractors. Employer also hired in-house
employees to do the same work.
Are the home workers employees under the common law
Under the multi-factor common law test, a worker is an
employee if the employer either actually controls, or retains
the right to control, where, how, or when the work is
Even though the requirements were "relatively few," the
employer did subject the workers to some requirements as
to how they did their work. This is a form of actual control.
Additionally, the employer provided the workers with the
names and addresses to be researched. The workers were
not free to find potential subscribers from their own sources.
This is another form of actual control. It's true that the
workers set their own hours and used their own homes and
phones, factors that could indicate independent contractor
status. However, the employer's actual control of how the
work was performed would override the fact that the workers
could set their own hours and workload, and the fact that
they used their own equipment (homes and phones).
Under the common law test, it is the employer's actual
control, or retained right to control, when, where, or how the
work is done that determines worker status, not whether
there is a contract defining the relationship.
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