Discussion Board – Employment Relations: Agency and the Liability of Principals and Independent Contractors

DISCUSSION BACKGROUND: Cora and Caley, CARDWARE’s co-office managers have determined that CARDWARE Inc. is growing so rapidly that they need to hire a part-time advertising manager to market CARDWARE’s latest business, “Designer Car Seat Covers.” Camille has recommended Nicole Marriott to fill the position. Nicole has freelanced with several big agencies and brings with her a wealth of knowledge, integrated advertising software, and a host of media contacts to further the interests of CARDWARE. CARDWARE provides Nicole with an office and use of its telephones and equipment, such as copy machine, fax machine, and computer, although Nicole may use her own computer if she wishes.

While visiting with Z-1, Inc., a leading car manufacturer, in an attempt to secure its business, Nicole recognized a former colleague, Raquel Dean, whom she knew to be sly with business tactics in stealing ideas. Raquel walked by Nicole and accidentally bumped into her causing Nicole to drop a pile of papers with diagrams and profit graphs from Designer Car Seat Covers. Nicole, thinking that Raquel was trying to take her ideas, doubled up her fist and punched Raquel in the face knocking out her two front teeth and bruising her left eye. Raquel filed suit against CARDWARE based on battery.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

1.    Whether or not Nicole is an independent contractor.

2.   Whether or not CARDWARE Inc. would be liable for Nicole’s torts/criminal acts if she is considered to be an independent contractor. Be sure to note the difference in outcome if she is determined to be an employee.

DISCUSSION GUIDELINES: Your initial response should fully address all of the discussion assignment questions and be: insightful; original and accurate; substantive; demonstrate an advanced understanding of concepts; and compile/synthesize theories and concepts drawn from a variety of sources to support your discussion, analysis and conclusions. Please be specific in your initial response and be sure to use cited research to specific credible primary and secondary sources of authority to support your discussion, analysis and legal conclusions.

Please be sure to post three to five substantive responses to other students over at least three days of the discussion period. Your work should identify, utilize, discuss and apply the relevant concepts and doctrines which were explained in the weekly reading material in a way that reflects a proficient understanding and application of those concepts and doctrines. Finally, your responses should reflect the kind of writing craftsmanship and ethical scholarship with the following characteristics: you wrote in a clear, concise, formal and organized manner; your responses were error free; and the information used to support your discussion and analysis was appropriately paraphrased and supported by specifically cited research.

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