17. Employee Status

Socher v Allegan General Hospital – 17.01

Socher v Allegan General Hospital
Digest no. 17.01

Section 42

Cite as: Socher v Allegan Gen Hosp, unpublished opinion of the Court of Appeals of Michigan, issued December 29, 1983 (Docket No. B81 07346 80683); lv den 422 Mich 882 (1985).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Robert Socher
Employer: Allegan General Hospital
Docket no.: B81 07346 80683
Date of decision: December 29, 1983

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SUPREME COURT HOLDING: In lieu of granting leave to appeal the Michigan Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals and trial court and reinstated the Board of Review decision because that decision was supported by competent, material and substantial evidence. The Board found the proper test to be applied is the “economic reality” test.

FACTS: Claimant, an emergency room physician, had an oral contract with the employer. Compensation was $25 per hour or 85% of the patient billings attributed to the claimant, whichever was greater. Taxes were not withheld, nor did he receive fringe benefits. The equipment, medication and instruments were provided by the hospital.

DECISION: The services involved were employment as defined by Section 42 of the MES Act

RATIONALE: The “economic reality” test looks to the totality of the circumstances surrounding the work performed and focuses on the relationship of the worker and his work to the employer’s business operation. See McKissic v Bodine, 42 Mich App 203 (1972). The claimant was not subject to any control as to the manner in which he performed his professional services for any given patient but could assess fees therefor only within the limits prescribed by the hospital and who was obligated to report for work and continue working at such times and throughout such periods as directed by the hospital. He could not hire or fire anyone who assisted him but instead had to accept those provided by the hospital and, at least understood, that he could not perform professional services elsewhere. The claimant’s services were a part of a larger common task, i e., the provision of hospital care to those in need. He was not an independent contractor.

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: