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243 C HAPTER 31 A GENCY F ORMATION AND D UTIES A NSWER TO Q UESTIONS AT THE E NDS OF THE C ASES C ASE 31.1 (P AGE 641) W HAT I F THE F ACTS W ERE D IFFERENT ? Suppose that Alberty had been a full-time, hourly worker and that such status was common among television hosts, but WIPR had manipulated the benefits and tax withholdings to favor independent-contractor status. How might the result have been different? Control is generally the dispositive factor in determining whether workers are employees or independent contractors, and under the facts posed in this question, the television station would be in control. A failure to receive certain tax forms or benefits will not likely convert hourly, full-time workers in positions typically occupied by employees into independent contractors. T HE G LOBAL D IMENSION Would Alberty have been defined as an employee if she had been a foreign correspondent who reported on stories from international locations and WIPR had paid her travel and related expenses? Explain. No. It is unlike ly that an employer’s payment of travel and related expenses for an otherwise independent contractor would change that individual’s status to “employee.” If all of the other factors listed in the court’s opinion were the same— particularly the terms of the parties’ contracts allowing Alberty to seek other work— her status would likely also be the same. C ASE 31.2 (P AGE 644) W HAT I F THE F ACTS W ERE D IFFERENT ? Suppose that Motorsport’s sales manager had telephoned Marsha Wiedmaier. Further suppose that Marsha h ad vouched for Michael’s creditworthiness but informed Motorsport that she and her husband owned Wiedmaier and that Michael worked for them. How might the outcome of this case have been different in that situation? If Marsha had made clear to Motorsport th at Michael was not ordering merchandise on Wiedmaier’s behalf, there would
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244 UNIT SEVEN: AGENCY AND EMPLOYMENT not have been a sufficient basis to support a theory of apparent agency. If, however, Marsha told Motorsport that she was an owner of Wiedmaier, vouched for Michael’s credit, and sa id that he “worked” for Wiedmaier, without indicating that he was not its agent, the case might have had the same result. T HE E-C OMMERCE D IMENSION Should the court have applied the law differently in this case if Michael had done business with Motorsport entirely online? Explain. No. Apparent authority results from a “direct communication” from a principal to a third party that causes the third party to reasonably believe another person has the authority to act for the principal. The communication need not be verbal and can consist of a combination of acts. Thus, the court should not have applied the law differently in that circumstance.
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