An independent contractor is the worker whose taxes are not withheld or paid by the employer.
Joshua is an independent contractor not an employee. Elements such as behavioral, financial and type of employment relationship will help us in determining who Joshua is. First, the Ark Bark has no full control over what Joshua does. This is evident from the point that he still deals with the other business enterprises as the sales person and even the VP of the company Fred Flood accepts the fact the Joshua makes his own decisions about his work in the company. Schneir and James (1999) view a person whose duties are not controlled by the company as an independent contractor.
Dealing with the financial issue, we can vividly see that the business aspects of Joshua’s job are not fully controlled by the Ark Bark. Though, there is a bit of confusion in this area because Ark Bark chipped in to foot the travel expenses, business cards among others. These are just minor expenses. If he was an employee, he could have not incurred the greater business expenses, instead the employer could. The type of employment relationship also confirms that Joshua is an independent contractor. First there is no written contract for the contract between the two parties.
Broadhurst Emily holds that, even though one can enter into a contract with the employee even minus a written document, it is mandatory that the person be provided with the staff handbook. Joshua’s claim that he was still winding up with the former companies was illogical for an employee. For one to be an employee, the contract between the employee and the employer is never gradual. Therefore, the fact that he accepted the contract while still holding onto the other jobs indicates that he was an independent contractor, who is not under any obligation of Ark Bark. What the company could do to make Joshua an independent contractor.
If the company had an intention of making Joshua an independent contractor, they ought to have laid a better business contract for him. It was the duty of the company to keep to the employment Act of 1963 (passed in 1972 Act). This Act defines employees must be given written evidence on the major issues related to terms of employment, this include the mode of payment. This could have saved the controversies erupting over with the $2,500 was a salary or commission The company could as well fill the form SS-8 (PDF) with IRS to be certain about the work status of Joshua for the purposes of taxation.
According to Barry and Jeffrey (1992), the form critically reviews the workers status based on the circumstances of employment. It was unnecessary for the company to provide other services like paying for printed stationery and business cards and travel expenses, when they intended to make him an independent contractor. Doing this creates some confusion since for an independent contractor; the company should not provide any tool of operation for the worker. This kind of confusion is tackled in Philip Inman’s (1999) scheme regarding payment between contractors and the employers. Are there ethical issues in the company’s action?
No, there are no ethical issues involved. The way the company is trying to treat the man is unethical, according George Richard’s (1999) opinion on business ethics, even if the contract was made orally, it was better for the business to provide a staff handbook or any other written material indicating the terms of employment. The company breached law of a fair employment contract. Actually, if the intention of the company was to have Joshua as an independent contractor, what was the need of terminating his services when he claimed that he was winding down his links with the former companies?
This is ethically unaccepted because it leads to harassment. According to Bowie, Norma (1999), business should not be accompanied with harassment. It is not very clear that why Joshua was terminated. But the obvious reason is due to the poor relationship between him and the company. Broadhurst Emily (2005) argues that such an act is unlawful since the law provides protection against unfair dismissal. Other than terminating his services, the company could have embarked on solving grievances at the work place as described by Broadhurst Emily. This could better their relationship instead.
Is there room to alter the relationship? Yes there is room to make things different, but very limited. I say very limited because, Joshua is already out of Ark Bark company. If he was still a worker in the company, the company could simply revise the relationship bit, translate the contract in writing and forward details to the IRS. This could justify whether Joshua is an independent contractor or not. At the same time, I say that there is limited room since there are no legal issues preventing Joshua from re-applying to be an employer of the company. The success or failure of the re-union lies with the two parties.