Title VII Does Not Apply To Independent Contractors

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 USC section 2000d) prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. But in order to state a claim, the plaintiff must be an employee.  The statute does not cover independent contractors, a fact confirmed in a ruling from the Ninth Circuit in Murray v. Principal Financial Group, Inc.

The court discussed the factors to be considered.  "[W]hen when determining whether an individual is an independent contractor or an employee for purposes of Title VII, a court should evaluate the hiring party’s right to controlthe manner and means by which the product is accomplished. . . . The factors relevant to this inquiry, as identified by the Supreme Court, are:[1] the skill required; [2] the source of the instrumentalitiesand tools; [3] the location of the work;[4] the duration of the relationship between the parties;[5] whether the hiring party has the right to assign additional projects to the hired party; [6] the extent of the hired party’s discretion over when and how long to work; [7] the method of payment; [8]the hired party’s role in hiring and paying assistants;[9] whether the work is part of the regular business of the hiring party; [10] whether the hiring party is in business; [11] the provision of employee benefits; and [12] the tax treatment of the hired party."

For your convenience, a complete copy of the court’s ruling is attached.

At Slote & Links, we regularly advise employers, unions, and individual employees about issues that arise in the workplace. Feel free to give us a call if you have questions or issues in this area.