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Ravi an Employee Rather than An Independent Contractor Case Study

Case B—Background:

Harpreet, the owner of a new studio called Pottery Palace, verbally offered Ravi a full-time contract. Harpreet planned to manage the business affairs of the studio, while employing two workers: Sam, who answered the telephone and sold pottery in the shop, and Ravi, who would work in the studio behind the shop, designing and making all of the pottery that would be sold in the shop. Ravi would use the kiln, clay, dyes, and other tools provided by Harpreet, working at the studio every day from 8:30 am-4:30 pm, according to the schedule Harpreet provided him.

Ravi worked for five weeks without receiving any pay. One day he asked Harpreet when she would pay him. She paused for a moment, and said, “Give me a moment.” Ten minutes later, she gave Ravi a cheque with a typed pay stub showing the gross pay, but no deductions for Income Tax, Employment Insurance, or Canada Pension Plan contributions. He asked Harpreet about this, and she stated that this was because Ravi was a contractor, and not an employee. Ravi was surprised as he had been under the impression since hiring that he was an employee.

Ravi decides to consult you, an employment lawyer, to see whether he is an employee or an independent contractor, and what rights he has under the law.

Case B—Questions:

  • According to the law, is Ravi an independent contractor or an employee? Explain by applying both the Four-Part Test and the Organization Test, as described in Employment Law Video Lecture Video Lecture pt. 1.
  • Is Pottery Palace required to follow the Employment Standards Act (ESA) when paying Ravi? Explain whether Pottery Palace has broken any laws regarding paying Ravi on time.
  • Is Pottery Palace required by law to deduct Ravi’s Income Tax, Employment Insurance, and Canada Pension Plan contributions from his paycheque? Why or why not?
  • Explain your answers to the questions above using the information from Working in BC (a guide to the ESA) and Employment Law Video Lecture Video Lectures pt. 1 & 2.


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