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“The owner of a bookbinding company just received an enormous order for extra textbooks to be produced. She does not think she has enough employees to fulfill the order. She suggests to HR that they might hire five independent contractors on a short-term basis to help with the process. The manager of HR indicates there may be issues with this approach and has a number of questions.Who is an employee and who is not an employee? The first four weeks of the course are about laws pertaining to employees, and now it is important to clarify who is a temporary employee and who is an independent contractor. They are entitled to all of the same protections. This week, there are three cases that all deal with when the courts call someone an employee.
Discussion: Define the employer-employee relationship to enable a productive workplace, which minimizes conflict and controversy.
What You Need To Know: Cases and articles illustrate different scenarios that define the employee relationship.
Prepare: Prepare to participate in a conference call with your assigned team for the HR Challenge: Oral Argument assignment.
Discussion Overview
Define the employer-employee relationship to enable a productive workplace, which minimizes conflict and controversy.
What You Need to Know
Legal Background
Read the course file, Legal Background: Employer and Employee [PDF], for a basic understanding of the topic for this week. This background information is intended to support your learning like a section of a textbook
It is recommended that you identify the main argument and decision of all of these cases by reading the abstract for each case. Then select one case to analyze using the IRAC method.
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company v. Darden, 503 U.S. 318 (1992).
Focus area: Defining the relationship.
Community for Creative Non-Violence v. Reid, 490 U.S. 730 (1989).
Focus area: Defining the relationship.
Ruiz v. Shell Oil Company, 413 F.2d 310 (5th Cir. 1969).
Focus area: Court applies nine-question analysis.
Definition of Employee
These articles are less than two pages each and illustrate different scenarios that are used to determine the definition of who is an employee.
Janette, L. F. (2019, September). Are sports referees employees or independent contractors? Workforce Management (Time and Attendance) Excellence Essentials.
Schoeffler, B., & Oak, C. (2018, October 15). Time to revisit independent contractor vs. employed producer status. Insurance Journal.
Smith, S. (2016, February 29). OSHA administrative law judge rules Connecticut contractor misclassified employees as independent contractors.EHS Today.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (1997, May 2). Enforcement guidance on EEOC & Walters v. Metropolitan Educational Enterprises, Inc., 117 S.Ct. 660 (1997).Retrieved from 
This notice identifies the number of employees that are necessary for an employer to demonstrate a sufficient number for the jurisdictional prerequisite for coverage under Title VII, ADA, and ADEA.
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Employer and Employee Roles
As referenced in the cases and articles assigned this week, the definition of the employer-employee relationship is subject to interpretation. Moreover, the way employers and employees interact in the workplace initiates productivity, conflict, and controversy.
How can HRM professionals help define roles and responsibilities associated with the employer-employee relationship to enable a productive workplace? Use real-life examples, if at all possible.

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