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Employee vs. Independent Contractor Quiz

Is this Worker an Employee or an Independent Contractor?

A sales representative owns her own sales agency. She spends the better part of seven years working exclusively for one client, an office furniture manufacturer, under a series of one-year contracts. Each contract specifies that the representative is not the manufacturer’s employee. She’s integrated into the manufacturer’s operation and not allowed to sell competing products. The manufacturer ends its relationship with the agency and hires the sales representative as a full-time employee. But after only 10 months, it fires her without notice or compensation in lieu of notice. She sues for wrongful dismissal and claims notice damages based on a total of almost eight years of employment with the manufacturer. The manufacturer argues that the sales representative was an employee for only 10 months and an independent contractor the rest of the time. Consequently, it says that she’s entitled to three months’ notice, at most.


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