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Analyze a set of hypothetical facts under a set of legal rules and reach a conclusion

This assignment requires you to analyze a set of hypothetical facts under a set of legal rules and reach a conclusion that you can defend.

The exercise aims to present you with a set of facts that you might reasonably encounter as an HR professional, and its objective is to help you develop the ability to critically analyze these facts and persuade a reasonable observer that you have reached the correct conclusion.

This assignment requires you to analyze a set of hypothetical facts under a set of legal rules and reach a conclusion that you can defend.
The exercise aims to present you with a set of facts that you might reasonably encounter as an HR professional, and its objective is to help you develop the ability to critically analyze these facts and persuade a reasonable observer that you have reached the correct conclusion.

RELEVANT COURSE OBJECTIVES:

1. Identify and define relevant legal concepts and explain their applications in a realistic, hypothetical fact pattern.

1. Apply critical thinking, analytic, and communication skills through case analysis, research, problem solving,

1. Develop applicable skills and knowledge in the relevant cross-curricular initiatives, including effective writing and information literacy

The Facts

Make-a-Bed is a furniture manufacturer and distributor with plants in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The company�s president believed the company could save money by streamlining the manufacturing process and consolidating facilities. To accomplish this, the company advertised through regular want ads for a consultant/industrial engineer to oversee this process.

John Engineer applied for the job; his resume indicated that he ran his own consulting firm as a solo practitioner and had consulted on this type of project before.

The president decided that it would be better to hire John as an independent contractor than as an employee, as originally planned, because John was wrapping up some projects for other clients and couldnt begin full-time work right away.

John was told that he would be expected to study the employer business and make recommendations as to how to accomplish the consolidation within one year. He was required to report regularly to the president on his work (every month), but was responsible for scheduling his own meetings and travel. It was agreed that John would budget approximately 20 hours of his time every week to the project and would be paid on an hourly basis, upon submission of an invoice each month.

Johns other business dried up and after a few months, he was devoting all his time to Make-a-Bed, though he continued to bill only 20 hours a week. John travelled frequently to the three factories, but was not reimbursed for his travel expenses.

After one year had passed, John had not made any formal recommendations about how to accomplish the consolidation project wanted by the business and was replaced by an outside professional consulting agency.

John filed a claim for unemployment benefits showing Make-a-Bed as the last employer. The company supplied a 1099 form to the unemployment office showing that John had been paid as a contractor, not an employee. The claim was denied, but John appealed and a hearing was held.

The Hearing

At the hearing, the companys new HR director presented the presidents written statement along with his handwritten notes (but no contract) regarding the terms of the agreement with John to act as an independent contractor.

John testified that the terms presented in the handwritten notes were not familiar to him and he did not recall this discussion with the company president. Through testimony, it was shown that John was only able to complete work during normal business hours due to needing access to the business computer system and technical manuals.

John testified that he was also expected to notify HR when he would not be in for any reason and if he was going to arrive late or leave early. John had an office at the company, but also worked from home occasionally. While it was true that John submitted monthly bills for services, the bills were sometimes late, but a check was still issued on a normal payroll cycle from the business payroll account.

You explained that John was only allowed to perform services during normal business hours for security reasons and that the three factories were only open certain hours. There was no external way for any person to access the business computer system, so no employee tele-commuted and everyone came into the office every day.

You explained that a clerk had set up payments to the claimant in the employer payroll system in error. The payroll system was programmed to issue a check on certain intervals unless overridden. No one at the business had been aware of this until the hearing.

You testified that you didn’t think John had been required to notify HR about taking time off and that HR merely thought that John was being courteous by notifying them of time off, but had not expected or required it. You also informed the hearing judge that John did not receive any benefits such as vacation pay, or health or retirement benefits.

Imagine that you are the Unemployment Claims Hearing Office and that you must decide whether John should be characterized as an independent contractor or an employee. Draft an opinion stating your conclusion, and your reasoning for reaching this conclusion.

 

Employee vs. Independent contractor

Name

Course

Institution

Date

 

Employee vs. Independent contractor:

Common law has slowly evolved over the years based upon the specific judgments administered by the courts in relation to personal cases. The common law of employment, as it is entirely known focuses on the total overall court cases and decisions that relate to the query of what establishes an employment relationship. According to the law, the employer-employee relationship always come into being when an individual hires another individual to execute services and has the overall right to exercise control over the means and manner in which the person performs her or his services (Publication 15A, 2015).

The the right of control, whether executed or not, is preferred as the most significant and is used in determining the relationship. It is vital then to distinguish between independent contractors and employees while expounding on this law. Independent contractors are those individuals who pursue a specific sovereign operation either occupational or business wise, in which they present their services to the community and they are not employees normally. Consequently, for an employee, the employer unlike for the independent contractors withholds his or her federal income taxes, medicare taxes and pay over social security. It is significant then to note that the facts that expose the proof of the degree of autonomy and control include the monetary control, relationship of the individuals and behavioral organization (Publication 15A, 2015).

With respect to the case, the appointment of John to spearhead the consolidation of the manufacturing and distribution process for the make-a-bed company, is one case scenario that tries to distinguish between independent contractors versus employees. John is an engineer who runs his own firm as a solo practitioner or an independent contractor. Where an individuals’ behavioral control is subject to the business’ instructions, in relation to how, at what time and where to work, then the participate is regarded an employee. In our case, although the president of the company required John to regularly report about his work, John was actually fully entitled to planning and implementing his own working, travel and meeting schedules. Our case analysis again shows that the president had an eye on the control of the results rather than the control on how the work results were to be attained.

With regard to monetary control, independent contractors are more likely to have unreimbursed expenses, unlike for the employees who enjoy the same. Thus, in our case study, John despite from frequenting his work place did not receive any reimbursement for his travel allowances while conducting his services to the make-a-bed company. Moreover, John received payment for his services on an hourly basis, which would be invoiced each month as he was supposed to work for a specific number of hours in a week to the project and was in control of the same.

The fact that John did not meet his requirements over the targeted one year, the company had to replace him as the permanency of their relationship was based on that particular one year of consolidation. If one engages an individual at a certain point with expectations that the relationship will last for an indistinct time, rather than the intended work or projected period, then the individual’s intentions are automatically considered to create an employee-employer relationship.

Conclusion:

Although John claims for unemployment benefits and insists that there was no contract between him and the company, the manner in which he executed his duties while working for the company was proof enough that he was not an employee of the same. It is, hence, beyond reasonable doubt and according to the above facts, that we can conclude John was an independent contractor hired by the make-a-bed company, and that his claims were invalid.

Additional section:

It is always vital to understand the different kind of workers associated with your organization when you are the HR of the organization. It is the work of the human resource to manage the employees and non-employees in an organization at a top managerial level. According to our case above, the human resource should have ensured that there were evident records that showed the working relationship between John and the company. The HR should have also categorized John under his suitable job group to avoid conflict. It was within the mandate of the HR to facilitate and establish payments ways while keeping a record of the same with regard to John.

 

References:

Publication 15A. (2015). Employers Supplemental Tax Guide. Supplement to publication 15, (Circular E), Employers Tax Guide.

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