Advisory Memo: Employment Issues

As a first-year Human Resource Specialist at “State of Estates” estate planning firm, your boss (Will N. Trusts) presents you with the following two scenarios:

Scenario 1

Gary, an estate planner, works on a contract basis for our clients at “State of Estates”. On occasion, we contract Gary to handle a specific client for a specific estate planning job. Per our contract with Gary for these specific clients, he is paid commission on a weekly basis based on the overall fee received by the firm. When working for these specific clients, Gary is able to use our office space, equipment, and any supplies necessary to complete the job. To ensure consistent work product and regulatory compliance, Gary submits his work to a supervisor, who approves it and send it to the client on behalf of our firm. Recently, we had to lay Gary off in the middle of a job and he filed for unemployment compensation.

  • What legal tests could be employed to determine whether Gary is an independent contractor or employee?
  • Based on these tests, what is your conclusion as to Gary’s status: independent contractor or employee?
Scenario 2

Susan, a financial products representative in our Nebraska office, landed a major Mutual Fund client just six weeks before planning to retire. In the interim, and before her commission was paid, she was let go by our firm. We did not have a contract for employment with Susan. She is now suing us for wrongful termination.

  • Would any exceptions to Susan’s at-will employment apply under these circumstances?
  • Does it make a difference if Susan was employed in our Florida office?

Apply the concept of employment at-will and its various exceptions, including differences in approach to at-will among the states.

Write two -175 word memorandums based on the scenarios in one document. The memos should be written in third-person voice, and include citation of references (both in-text and at the end of the memo) in APA format. U.S. references only,


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