So I found this doing some light Googling. I thought it might made for interesting discussion.
Yeah, WWE has always been on shaky ground from a legal standpoint with that argument, but the problem is that there’s no one with the legal means and time to fight that fight.
“No consistent, uniform definition distinguishes an employee from an independent contractor. Some statutes contain their own definitions. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that when a statute contains the term employee but fails to define it adequately, there is a presumption that traditional agency-law criteria for identifying master-servant relationships apply (National Mutual Insurance Co. v. Darden, 503 U.S. 318, 112S. Ct. 1344, 111 L. Ed. 2d 581 ).
One comprehensive test that takes into account agency-law criteria and numerous other factors courts have created to define independent contractor status was developed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Known collectively as the 20-factor test, the enumerated criteria generally fall within three categories: control (whether the employer or the worker has control over the work performed), organization (whether the worker is integrated into the business), and economic realities (whether the worker directly benefits from his or her labor). The 20 factors serve only as a guideline. Each factor’s degree of importance varies depending on the occupation and the facts involved in a particular case”
Lets take a look.
“1. A worker who is required to comply with instructions about when, where, and how he or she must work is usually an employee.”
You are expected to be at the building at a certain time…..Employee
“2. If an employer trains a worker—requires an experienced employee to work with the worker, educates the worker through correspondence, requires the worker to attend meetings, or uses other methods—this normally indicates that the worker is an employee.”
Not until developmental started, but they do now…..Employee
“3. If a worker’s services are integrated into business operations, this tends to show that the worker is subject to direction and control and is thus an employee. This is the case particularly when a business’s success or continuation depends to a large extent on the performance of certain services.”
Yeah the WWE is totally dependent on the wrestlers…..Employee
“4. If a worker’s services must be rendered personally, there is a presumption that the employer is interested in the methods by which the services are accomplished as well as in the result, making the worker an employee.”
“5. If an employer hires, supervises, and pays assistants for a worker, this indicates control over the worker on the job, making the worker an employee.”
“6. A continuing relationship between a worker and an employer, even at irregular intervals, tends to show an employer-employee relationship.”
I say a long term contract counts as a continuing relationship….Employee
“7. An employer who sets specific hours of work for a worker exhibits control over the worker, indicating that the worker is an employee.”
The WWE sets length of matches/promos…..Employee
“8. If a worker is working substantially full-time for an employer, the worker is presumably not free to do work for other employers and is therefore an employee.
“9. Work performed on an employer’s premises suggests the employer’s control over a worker, making the worker an employee. This is especially true when work could be done elsewhere. However, the mere fact that work is done off the employer’s premises does not necessarily make the worker an independent contractor.
Work isn’t performed at WWE headquarters, we’ll give them a maybe here.
“10. If a worker is required to perform services in an order or sequence set by an employer, the employer has control over the worker that demonstrates an employer-employee relationship.”
Depends on how you define order or sequence. I’ll give them another maybe.
“11. A worker who is required to submit regular oral or written reports to an employer is likely an employee.”
I imagine agents give oral report, regularly……employee
“12. Payment by the hour, week, or month tends to indicate that a worker is an employee; payment made by the job or on a straight commission points to an independent contractor.”
I’ll give the WWE this one. They way they do the balloon payments for downsides. It is not the same amount every two weeks
“13. A worker is ordinarily an employee if an employer pays for the worker’s business or travel expenses.”
I know top guys get travel paid, and if you believe Micheal Hayes on those Legends of Wrestling shows, everyone gets travel paid……..Employee
“14. An employer who furnishes a worker with significant tools, materials, or other equipment tends to show that the worker is an employee.”
I know they have seamstresses, but who pays for it. I’ll say maybe.
“15. A worker who significantly invests in facilities used to perform services and not typically maintained by employees (such as office space) is generally an independent contractor.”
The WWE does all the investing….Employee
“16. A worker who can realize a profit or loss resulting from his or her services is generally an independent contractor.”
Wrestlers do not realize a loss…….Employee
“17. A worker who performs for more than one firm at a time is generally an independent contractor.”
“18. If a worker makes his or her services available to the general public on a regular and consistent basis, that worker is generally an independent contractor.”
Your services can not be available if your under a long term contact……Employee
“19. An employer’s right to discharge a worker tends to show that the worker is an employee. An employee must obey an employer’s instructions in order to stay employed; an independent contractor can be fired only if the work result fails to meet the agreed-upon specifications.”
Wrestler can be fired at anytime for any reason…..Employee
“20. If a worker has the right to terminate his or her relationship with an employer at any time without incurring liability, such as breach of contract, that worker is likely an employee.”
So out of 20 the WWE meets one with two maybes. How does this not get fought in court?