The 7th Circuit Court outlined the criteria to demonstrate the differences between employer status and employee status. These criteria answered questions such as:
- Can the organization hire, fire or establish other work requirements for the individual?
- Does the organization directly oversee the work of the individual?
- Does the individual have the direct ability to impact the organization’s policies?
- Is the individual an employee under the written contract?
- Does the individual profit share liability in the organization? .....
In Bluestein v. Cent. Wisconsin Anesthesiology, the 7th Circuit Court ruled that Dr. and Plantiff Linda Bluestein did not have a case because she could be considered an employer based on her lack of direct supervision, membership on Central Wisconsin Anesthesiology’s Board of Directors, her position as a shareholder and her ability to influence the medical clinic’s policy changes. As a member of the board, she herself participated in the vote calling for her resignation or subsequent termination. Bluestein believed that the company discriminated against her by calling for her resignation or termination following her extended leave request after injuries sustained in a serious kayaking accident left her unable to sufficiently perform her job despite medical leave following the accident.
However, an individual’s employer or employee status within an organization is tested based on specific factual evidence. When considered in coordination with additional elements of the working environment, each discrimination and FMLA case can yield different results.
If you believe that you have experienced discrimination within your workplace, contact Heins & Minko employment law firm for a free initial consultation. We will be able to give you solid legal advice so you know what steps you should take next within your situation.
By Anna Witan