A rose by any other name…

Determining whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee isn’t easy. There’s no magic formula to apply, no single clear-cut question that can be asked. But what is clear is that courts don’t care what the employer calls the worker. It’s how the worker is treated that will ultimately decide whether the employment relationship is truly that of an independent contractor. Stuart Rudner takes an in-depth look.
By Stuart Rudner
|Canadian Employment Law Today

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” — William Shakespeare

The point of the quote above, which I could never make as eloquently as Shakespeare, is that it doesn’t matter what you call something. Calling it by a different name does not change its fundamental nature, or make it something different. To use another, perhaps less eloquent, quote: “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, you can be reasonably sure it is a duck.”

While this may seem a bit more philosophical than the usual article, it has a practical application. In the employment law context, this concept arises often when one deals with purported “independent contractors.” In many cases, they are nothing but employees with a different name.