Physician not a Hospital “Employee” for Title VII Purpose

From The National Law ReviewRachel L. Berry discusses a recent case in which a physician at a hospital was an independent contractor because the hospital did not exercise control over the doctor’s conduct. Rachel writes:

On May 8, 2019, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed its test to determine whether a worker qualifies as an “employee” as defined by and subject to Title VII protections.

In this case, the plaintiff was a physician who maintained practice privileges at defendant Hospital.  Most of her revenue came from the work she performed at the Hospital, and the Hospital subjected her to peer-review proceedings.  Nevertheless, the Court ruled that she was not an “employee” of the Hospital for purposes of Title VII, but was instead an independent contractor.

The Court emphasized that the most important factor is the employer’s right to control the worker’s conduct and performance. While acknowledging that a physician who enjoys hospital staff privileges could share an indirect employer-employee relationship with a hospital sufficient to invoke Title VII protection, the Court ultimately held that subjecting the plaintiff to peer review did not meet the necessary control threshold to create an employee-employer relationship with the Hospital.

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