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Independent Contractor

Autor:   •  March 31, 2013  •  Essay  •  1,027 Words (5 Pages)  •  734 Views

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Case Analysis

Introduction

Independent contractor (IC) refers to someone who performs an agreed service for an agreed price according to a contract and controls the manner of the performance . The performance must correspond the demand of the engager, but the approach to achieve the performance is chosen by the independent contractor . While for employee, work and labour are provided under the control and direction of the employer . Generally, the employer should be vicariously liable for the employee’s negligence, but not for the independent contractor’s negligence. In Stevens v Brodribb Sawmilling Co Pty Ltd , the High Court needs to judge if Gray is an employee or an independent contractor of Brodribb.

Facts

The respondent, Brodribb Sawmilling Company Pty Ltd, employed fellers, sniggers and truckers to operate in a sawmill in Victoria. Stevens was a trucker and Gray was a snigger, they used their own truck and bulldozer. One day when Gray loaded logs onto the truck, the fourth log is not long enough to be loaded onto the truck by the bulldozer. For the fourth time to try, a log fell and rolled on to Stevens, causing injury. Stevens and Gray set their own hours of work, and they were free to do other work when they had no work in the sawmill. Their income was calculated according to the amount of logs snigged and trucked. There was no income tax deducted from the payment.

Issue

Whether or not the relationship between Brodribb and Gray was one of employer and employee?

Ratione Decidendi

1. The court confirmed that both Gray and Stevens are independent contractors

of Brodribb according to the development of control test from Zuijs v Wirth Bros Pty Ltd that the importance of control lies more on the right of employer to exercise control instead of the actual exercise.

2. Some indicia are relevant to determine if the relationship is one of employer and employee, such as the provision of work place and equipment, the payment of remuneration, the working hours and holidays, the deduction of income tax and the delegation of work. This is the multi-factor test.

Judgement and Analysis

The majority of High Court found that Gray was an independent contractor of Brodribb. This continued the development of control test from Zuijs v Wirth Bros Pty Ltd . The majority thought that although there was a bush boss who co-ordinated the work in logging area and ensured a steady flow of timber to the mill, the performance of Gray to log timber was based on his own control of his equipment, which could infer that there was no existence of direction from the bush boss.

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