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Are Doctors “Employees” of the Hospital?

Are doctors who have privileges at hospitals employees of the hospital or merely independent contractors (i.e., the hospital issues them an IRS Form 1099 at tax-time)? That’s a question that was raised in a case called Salamon v. Our Lady of Victory Hospital. The issue is important because many anti-discrimination and sexual harassment laws cover only employees, not independent contractors. Being called an independent contractor could mean that if your boss or supervisor discriminates against or harasses you, you might be out of luck. In Salamon, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals decided that there was enough evidence and it was a close enough call that the issue should go to a jury to decide. Check out Suits in the Workplace for a nice analysis of the decision. Long story short – the answer depends on how much control the hospital exerts over the doctor’s work activities.

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