A recent employment law case evaluated whether a doctor should be considered
an employer or an employee. In the disability discrimination case, an
anesthesiologist was identified as an employee based on her employment
agreement. However, after working for two years, she was promoted and
became a shareholder and a member of the board of directors. Further,
she began receiving a quarterly distribution based on her role on the board.
Several years later, the woman sustained serious injuries as the result
of a kayaking accident and was unable to return to work full time. She
then requested a leave of absence. Subsequently, the board voted to terminate
the woman if she could not perform her duties as an anesthesiologist without
restriction, and did not resign on her own. When she did not resign, she
was fired. The woman then filed a lawsuit for disability discrimination
pursuant to the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). The lower court determined
that the doctor should be considered an employer rather than an employee,
and as a result was not protected by the ADA. The ADA makes it illegal
to discriminate against qualified individuals as the result of a disability.
If you have questions about the ADA, or believe that you may have been
discriminated against because of a disability, consulting with an experienced Atlanta
employment discrimination lawyer is important to determine your rights and evaluate your next steps.
In this instance, the decision hinged on the doctors role as either an
employer or an employee. Determining whether a worker is an employer or
employee depends on the element of control. The Supreme Court has set
forth a six-factor test to help make this determination. These factors include:
• Whether the organization can hire or fire the individual, or set
the rules and regulations of the individual’s work;
• Whether and, if so, to what extent the organization supervises
the individual’s work;
• Whether the individual reports to someone higher in the organization;
• Whether and, if so, to what extent the individual is able to influence
• Whether the parties intended that the individual be an employee,
as expressed in written agreements or contracts; and • Whether the
individual shares in the profits, losses, and liabilities of the organization.
The Court further noted that no one factor is decisive in making the decision;
rather, all aspects of the relationship should be considered.
This case emphasizes just one aspect the complexities that may exist in
determining what law apply to workers. If you have questions about your
rights or believe that you may have been discriminated against, please
contact the experienced Georgia disability discrimination lawyers at Buckley
Beal LLP to
request a case evaluation..