15 F.3d 103 (8th Cir. 1994), 93-1642, Wilde v. County of Kandiyohi

Docket Nº93-1642.
Citation15 F.3d 103
Party NameCaryn WILDE, Appellant, v. The COUNTY OF KANDIYOHI; Kandiyohi County Economic Development Partnership, Inc., a Minnesota corporation; Kandiyohi County Rural Development Finance Authority; Wilton F. Croonquist, individually and in his capacity of Executive Director of Kandiyohi County Rural Development Finance Authority, Appellees.
Case DateJanuary 27, 1994
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Page 103

15 F.3d 103 (8th Cir. 1994)

Caryn WILDE, Appellant,

v.

The COUNTY OF KANDIYOHI; Kandiyohi County Economic

Development Partnership, Inc., a Minnesota corporation;

Kandiyohi County Rural Development Finance Authority;

Wilton F. Croonquist, individually and in his capacity of

Executive Director of Kandiyohi County Rural Development

Finance Authority, Appellees.

No. 93-1642.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

January 27, 1994

Submitted Nov. 10, 1993.

Page 104

Robert J. Zohlmann, New London, MN, argued, for appellant.

James R. Andreen, Minneapolis, MN, argued, for appellee.

Before FAGG and WOLLMAN, Circuit Judges, and VIETOR, [*] District Judge.

FAGG, Circuit Judge.

Caryn Wilde owns small businesses that rent executive office space and provide secretarial services. Wilton Croonquist, the executive director of the Kandiyohi County Economic Development Partnership, Inc. and the Kandiyohi County Rural Development Finance Authority, rented office space from Wilde and used her secretarial services. Alleging Croonquist sexually harassed her at work, Wilde brought this action against Croonquist, the Partnership, the Authority, and the County of Kandiyohi (collectively the appellees) under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. See 42 U.S.C. Secs. 2000e to 2000e-17 (1988 & Supp. III 1991). The district court concluded Wilde was not protected under Title VII because she was not an "employee" of the Partnership or the Authority within the meaning of the statute, and thus, the district court granted summary judgment in the appellees' favor on Wilde's Title VII claim. Wilde v. County of Kandiyohi, 811 F.Supp. 446, 451-53, 455 (D.Minn.1993). Wilde appeals and we affirm.

Title VII protects workers who are "employees," but does not protect independent contractors. See Spirides v. Reinhardt, 613 F.2d 826, 829-30 (D.C.Cir.1979). Title VII defines "employee" as "an individual employed by an employer." 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000e(f) (Supp. III 1991). Given the absence of any helpful legislative guidance on the breadth of this circular definition, courts have developed tests to distinguish between employees and independent contractors for the purposes of Title VII.

Borrowing from interpretations of the term "employee" in the context of the Fair

Page 105

Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. Secs. 201-219 (1988 & Supp. IV 1992), one federal appellate court examines the economic realities underlying the work relationship to decide whether the worker is likely to be susceptible to the discriminatory practices Title VII was designed to eliminate. Armbruster v. Quinn, 711 F.2d 1332, 1340, 1341 & n. 7 (6th Cir.1983). This test is based on the court's view that the statute should " 'be read in light of the mischief to be corrected and the end to be attained.' " Id. at 1340 (quoting NLRB v. Hearst Publications, 322 U.S. 111, 124, 64 S.Ct. 851, 857, 88 L.Ed. 1170 (1944)). Emphasizing the broad remedial goals of Title VII, the court extended "coverage to all those who are in a position to suffer the harm the statute is designed to prevent, unless specifically excluded." Id. at 1341.

Because Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. Secs. 621-634 (1988 & Supp. IV 1992), do not include the FLSA's expansive definition of the term "employ," most courts have reasoned that application of the expansive economic realities test is unwarranted in discrimination cases brought under Title VII or the ADEA. Instead, nearly every appellate court has applied a test described as a hybrid of the common-law test and the economic realities test. Oestman v. National Farmers Union Ins. Co., 958 F.2d 303, 305 (10th Cir.1992); Mares v. Marsh, 777 F.2d 1066, 1067-68 & n. 2 (5th Cir.1985); Garrett v. Phillips Mills, Inc., 721 F.2d 979, 981-82 (4th Cir.1983); EEOC v. Zippo Mfg. Co., 713 F.2d 32, 37-38 (3d Cir.1983); Cobb v. Sun Papers, Inc., 673 F.2d 337, 340-41 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 874, 103 S.Ct. 163, 74 L.Ed.2d 135 (1982); Unger v. Consolidated Foods Corp., 657 F.2d 909, 915 n. 8 (7th Cir.1981), cert. denied, 460 U.S. 1102, 103 S.Ct. 1801, 76 L.Ed.2d 366, and cert. denied, 464 U.S. 1017, 104 S.Ct. 549, 78 L.Ed.2d 723 (1983); Lutcher v. Musicians Union Local 47, 633 F.2d 880, 883 & n. 5 (9th Cir.1980); Spirides, 613 F.2d at 831-32. Under the hybrid test, the term "employee" is construed in light of general common-law concepts, taking into account the economic realities of the situation. Cobb, 673 F.2d at 340-41.

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55 practice notes
  • 116 Cal.App.4th 114, A101244, Vernon v. State
    • United States
    • California California Court of Appeals
    • February 25, 2004
    ...1028; see also Folkerson v. Circus Circus Enterprises, Inc. (9th Cir.1997) 107 F.3d 754, 756; Wilde v. County of Kandiyohi (8th Cir.1994) 15 F.3d 103, 106; Frankel v. Bally, Inc. (2d Cir.1993) 987 F.2d 86, 90.) The common and prevailing principle espoused in all of the tests directs us to c......
  • 947 N.W.2d 58 (Minn. 2020), A19-0461, Abel v. Abbott Northwestern Hospital
    • United States
    • Minnesota Supreme Court of Minnesota
    • July 29, 2020
    ...general common-law concepts, taking into account the economic realities of the situation." Wilde v. County of Kandiyohi, 15 F.3d 103, 105 (8th Cir. 1994) (describing consideration of economic realities as being "based on the court's view that the statute should......
  • 952 F.Supp. 652 (D.Neb. 1996), 4 CV93-3024, McCaslin v. Cornhusker State Industries
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 8th Circuit District of Nebraska
    • December 20, 1996
    ...the prison facility itself, making it difficult or impossible to delineate the limits of the workplace. In Wilde v. County of Kandiyohi, 15 F.3d 103 (8th Cir.1994), the Eighth Circuit adopted with respect to Title VII, the holding from the Supreme Court's decision in Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co......
  • 920 F.Supp. 934 (S.D.Ind. 1996), IP 95-576, Mukhtar v. Castleton Service Corp.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 7th Circuit Southern District of Indiana
    • February 26, 1996
    ...other courts have observed that, for practical purposes, no difference exists between the various tests. See Wilde v. County of Kandiyohi, 15 F.3d 103, 106 (8th Cir.1994); Frankel, 987 F.2d at 90; Thomason, 866 F.Supp. at 1336. This court accordingly follows the articulation of factors in D......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
54 cases
  • 116 Cal.App.4th 114, A101244, Vernon v. State
    • United States
    • California California Court of Appeals
    • February 25, 2004
    ...1028; see also Folkerson v. Circus Circus Enterprises, Inc. (9th Cir.1997) 107 F.3d 754, 756; Wilde v. County of Kandiyohi (8th Cir.1994) 15 F.3d 103, 106; Frankel v. Bally, Inc. (2d Cir.1993) 987 F.2d 86, 90.) The common and prevailing principle espoused in all of the tests directs us to c......
  • 947 N.W.2d 58 (Minn. 2020), A19-0461, Abel v. Abbott Northwestern Hospital
    • United States
    • Minnesota Supreme Court of Minnesota
    • July 29, 2020
    ...general common-law concepts, taking into account the economic realities of the situation." Wilde v. County of Kandiyohi, 15 F.3d 103, 105 (8th Cir. 1994) (describing consideration of economic realities as being "based on the court's view that the statute should......
  • 952 F.Supp. 652 (D.Neb. 1996), 4 CV93-3024, McCaslin v. Cornhusker State Industries
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 8th Circuit District of Nebraska
    • December 20, 1996
    ...the prison facility itself, making it difficult or impossible to delineate the limits of the workplace. In Wilde v. County of Kandiyohi, 15 F.3d 103 (8th Cir.1994), the Eighth Circuit adopted with respect to Title VII, the holding from the Supreme Court's decision in Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co......
  • 920 F.Supp. 934 (S.D.Ind. 1996), IP 95-576, Mukhtar v. Castleton Service Corp.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 7th Circuit Southern District of Indiana
    • February 26, 1996
    ...other courts have observed that, for practical purposes, no difference exists between the various tests. See Wilde v. County of Kandiyohi, 15 F.3d 103, 106 (8th Cir.1994); Frankel, 987 F.2d at 90; Thomason, 866 F.Supp. at 1336. This court accordingly follows the articulation of factors in D......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Participation as a theory of employment.
    • United States
    • Notre Dame Law Review Vol. 89 Nbr. 2, December - December 2013
    • December 1, 2013
    ...Discrimination Laws to Include Independent Contractors, 38 B.C.L. REV. 239, 250 (1997). (98) See, e.g., Wilde v. Cnty. of Kandiyohi, 15 F.3d 103, 105-06 (8th Cir. 1994) ("Application of the economic realities test results in Title VII coverage for some common-law independent contractor......