(Question A.3, Labor Law, 2019 Bar Exam)
A, B, and C were hired as resident-doctors by MM Medical Center, Inc. In the course of their engagement, A, B, and C maintained specific work schedules as determined by the Medical Director. The hospital also monitored their work through supervisors who gave them specific instructions on how they should perform their respective tasks, including diagnosis, treatment, and management of their patients.
One day A, B, and C approached the Medical Director and inquired about the non-payment of their employment benefits. In response, the Medical Director told them that they are not entitled to any because they are mere “independent contractors” as expressly stipulated in the contracts which they admittedly signed. As such, no employer-employee relationship exists between them and the hospital.
(a) What is the control test in determining the existence of an employer-employee? (2%)
(b) Is the Medical Director’s reliance on the contracts signed by A, B, and C to refute the existence of an employer-employee relationship correct? If not, are A, B, and C employees of MM Medical Center, Inc.? explain. (3%)
(a) The control test, which is also known as the four-fold test, is used to ascertain the existence of an employer-employee relationship, using these factors: (1) the selection and engagement of the employee; (2) the payment of wages; (3) the power of dismissal; and (4) the power to control the employee’s conduct, or the so-called “control test.” Of these four, the last one is the most important.
The so-called “control test” is commonly regarded as the most crucial and determinative indicator of the presence or absence of an employer-employee relationship.
(b) No. Answer
Under labor law jurisprudence, it is the law which determines the nature of employment, and not the parties. Further, under the control test, an employer-employee relationship exists where the person for whom the services are performed reserves the right to control not only the end achieved, but also the manner and means to be used in reaching that end. Rule
In the case at bar, there are indications of control exercised on A, B, and C, to wit: (a)the Medical director determined their work schedules; (b) they maintained these specific work schedules; (c) the hospital monitored their work through supervisors who gave them specific instructions on how they should perform their respective tasks, including diagnosis, treatment, and management of their patients. Apply
Thus, the Medical Director’s reliance on the contracts signed by A, B, and C to refute the existence of an employer-employee relationship, is not correct. There is an employer-employee relationship between A, B, and C, and the employer MM Medical Center, Inc. Conclusion
(Notice: The suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide, and thus specific citations are not provided. Notwithstanding, in the reviewers, the bar exam question is answered under the appropriate topic which discusses the concepts and principles, as well as provide for specific citations. Accordingly, please refer to it on the reviewer or in the Library.)
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