Employers have often tried to avoid the employment protections given to employees by treating them as contractors. A recent Supreme Court case is a cautionary tale for employers who call a person an independent contractor but treat them like an employee.

The words of the contract were clear that the worker was “an independent contractor” but he was actually not working like one and was fully integrated into the employer’s infrastructure.  The Court held that the way the parties actually behaved in implementing their employment contract was relevant when looking for the real nature of the relationship.

He was held to be an employee and as a result could bring a personal grievance claim against the employer when he was made redundant (that part of the claim is yet to be heard).  Employees are entitled to a proper process if a redundancy situation arises but contractors can be more easily terminated and cannot bring personal grievances.