Who is the true employer?

|Canadian Employment Law Today

Penelopia Macovei was hired to be the resident manager of a 48-unit apartment building in New Westminster, British Columbia (the Agnes Street property). The property was owned by 353276 Alberta Ltd., which, in turn, was owned by Domtex Investments Ltd. The property was managed, pursuant to a property management agreement, by Rancho Management Services (B.C.). It was Rancho that hired Ms. Macovei on Jan. 1, 1993, and it was Rancho who terminated Ms. Macovei’s employment on June 23, 1998.

In response to the termination of her employment, Ms. Macovei brought a claim against both Rancho and Elizabeth Atmore for wrongful dismissal and defamation. Ms. Atmore is a director and officer of Domtex and the only one to reside in British Columbia. The claim was brought against Ms. Atmore personally because it was she who directed Rancho to terminate Ms. Macovei’s employment. Ms. Macovei was not represented by counsel in bringing this claim.

Ms. Atmore brought an application seeking dismissal of the claim against her personally. In addition to a general denial of the claims against her, Ms. Atmore argued that she was neither the owner of the Agnes Street property nor was she the employer of Ms. Macovei.