This paper will evaluate a scenario in which Mary, an independent contractor and the Little Lamb Company enter a working relationship and how it evolves. The scenario in the assignment makes it ambiguous whether the role of Mary is that of an independent contractor or an employee.
â€œLittle Lamb Company needs an additional programmer for a special project. The company enters into a contract with Mary to complete this project. Just as the project is nearing completion, a new need arises for her services. She is asked to continue with the company to complete the new project. While completing the new project, the supervisor begins working more closely with Mary and requires her to use company materials and equipment while adhering to company work schedules. After two years, economic conditions force the company to make budget cuts. Mary is asked to leave. Thirty days later, a major contract is acquired by the company, which reinstates the need for ...view middle of the document...
As time goes on with the new project, Maryâ€™s duties require her to be trained on and use Little Lambâ€™s facility, equipment and materials. Although it was not specified whether Mary was full-time she did adopt the hours and work schedule. In the end Mary was treated like an at-will-employee because when an economic downturn force budget cuts Mary was laid-off.
To be considered an independent contractor Mary would have entered into a separate contract for the new project. The new project programming objectives would have been clearly detailed by Little Lamb Company and timelines defined. As an independent contractor Mary could have developed her own schedule and used her own resources to accomplish the goals and project schedule.
The relationship between Mary and the Little Lamb Company evolved from that of independent contractor and client to that of an employee / employer relationship. There is no doubt that the company felt there was a legitimate business need to reallocate all the resources necessary, either intentionally or unintentionally, to keep the New Project on top of the priority list. In doing so, there was over site on the part of the Little Lamb Company that caused Mary to be treated like an employee rather than an independent contractor.
At the conclusion of the scenario Mary is let go due to an economic downturn and budget cuts. This act further supports the relationship of an employee / employer. The Little Lamb Company was within its rights to release Mary from her role as a programmer on the new project. The company may still be liable the remainder of the original contract that brought her to Little Lamb in the first place. In looking into the exceptions to the employment-at-will I is my view that there is a breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Everything in the scenario leads the reader to believe Mary was doing a good job and fulfilled her duties well. Mary should have had a reasonable sense of job security based on length of employment and would expect the Little Lamb company would treat her fairly.
D. D. Bennett-Alexander and L. P. Hartman (2007) Employment Law for Business (5th ed.)
McGraw-Hill Company, Boston, MA