National Labor Relations Board v. United Insurance Company of America Insurance Workers International Union, Afl 8212 Cio v. National Labor Relations Board, Nos. 178

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBLACK
Citation19 L.Ed.2d 1083,390 U.S. 254,88 S.Ct. 988
PartiesNATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Petitioner, v. UNITED INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA et al. INSURANCE WORKERS INTERNATIONAL UNION, AFL—CIO, Petitioner, v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD et al
Decision Date06 March 1968
Docket Number179,Nos. 178

390 U.S. 254
88 S.Ct. 988
19 L.Ed.2d 1083
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Petitioner,

v.

UNITED INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA et al. INSURANCE WORKERS INTERNATIONAL UNION, AFL—CIO, Petitioner, v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD et al.

Nos. 178, 179.
Argued Jan. 23 and 24, 1968.
Decided March 6, 1968.

Dominick L. Manoli, Washington, D.C., for National Labor Relations board.

Page 255

Isaac N. Groner, Washington, D.C., for Insurance Workers International Union, AFL—CIO.

Bernard G. Segal, Philadelphia, Pa., for United Ins. Co. of America.

Mr. Justice BLACK delivered the opinion of the Court.

In its insurance operations respondent United Insurance Company uses 'debit agents' whose primary functions are collecting premiums from policy-holders, preventing the lapsing of policies, and selling such new insurance as time allows. The Insurance Workers International Union, having won a certification election, seeks to represent the debit agents, and the question before us is whether these agents are 'employees' who are protected by the National Labor Relations Act or 'independent contractors' who are expressly exempted from the Act.1 Respondent company refused to recognize the Union, claiming that its debit agents were independent contractors rather than employees. In the ensuing unfair labor practice proceeding the National Labor Relations Board held that these agents were employees and ordered the company to bargain collectively with the Union. 154 N.L.R.B. 38. On appeal the Court of Appeals found that the debit agents were independent contractors and refused to enforce the Board's order. 371 F.2d 316 (C.A.7th Cir.). The importance of the question in the context involved to the administration of the

Page 256

National Labor Relations Act prompted us to grant the petitions of the Board and the Union for certiorari. 389 U.S. 815, 88 S.Ct. 49, 19 L.Ed.2d 66.

At the outset the critical issue is what standard or standards should be applied in differentiating 'employee' from 'independent contractor' as those terms are used in the Act. Initially this Court held in N.L.R.B. v. Hearst Publications, 322 U.S. 111, 64 S.Ct. 851, 88 L.Ed. 1170, that 'Whether * * * the term 'employee' includes (particular) workers * * * must be answered primarily from the history, terms and purposes of the legislation.' 322 U.S., at 124, 64 S.Ct. at 857. Thus the standard was one of economic and policy considerations within the labor field. Congressional reaction to this construction of the Act was adverse and Congress passed an amendment specifically excluding 'any individual having the status of an independent contractor' from the definition of 'employee' contained in § 2(3) of the Act. The obvious purpose of this amendment was to have the Board and the courts apply general agency principles in distinguishing between employees and independent contractors under the Act.2 And both petitioners and respondents agree that the proper standard here is the law of agency. Thus there is no doubt that we should apply the commonlaw agency test here in distinguishing an employee from an independent contractor.

Since agency principles are to be applied, some factual background showing the relationship between the debit agents and respondent company is necessary. These basic facts are stated in the Board's opinion and will be very briefly summarized here. Respondent has district offices in most States which are run by a manager who usually has several assistant managers under him.

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Each assistant manager has a staff of four or five debit agents, and the total number of such agents connected with respondent company is approximately 3,300. New agents are hired by district managers, after interviews; they need have no prior experience and are assigned to a district office under the supervision of an assistant district manager. Once he is hired, a debit agent is issued a debit book which contains the names and addresses of the company's existing policyholders in a relatively concentrated geographic area. This book is company property and must be returned to the company upon...

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383 practice notes
  • Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. City of Seattle, No. 17-35640
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • May 11, 2018
    ...workers ... must be answered primarily from the history, terms and purposes of the legislation." NLRB v. United Ins. Co. of Am. , 390 U.S. 254, 256, 88 S.Ct. 988, 19 L.Ed.2d 1083 (1968) (second alteration in original ) (quoting Hearst , 322 U.S. at 124, 64 S.Ct. 851 ). In effect, the Hearst......
  • CREDIT BUREAU CONNECTION INC. v. PARDINI, Case No. CV F 10-1202 LJO GSA.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • August 2, 2010
    ...of the incidents of the relationship must be assessed and weighed with no one factor being decisive.” ( NLRB v. United Ins. Co. of Am., 390 U.S. 254, 258, 88 S.Ct. 988, 19 L.Ed.2d 1083 (1968)); see also, JustMed, Inc. v. Byce, 600 F.3d 1118, 1126 (9th Cir.2010) (citing Aymes v. Bonelli, 980......
  • United States v. Sierra Pacific Indus., No. CIV S–09–2445 KJM–EFB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • May 31, 2012
    ...of the relationship must be assessed and weighed with no one factor being decisive.” Nat'l Labor Relations Bd. v. United Ins. Co., 390 U.S. 254, 258, 88 S.Ct. 988, 19 L.Ed.2d 1083 (1968). Factors to be considered in determining whether one is an agent include: “(a) the extent of control whi......
  • Com. of Mass. v. Andrus, Nos. 78-1036
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — First Circuit
    • February 20, 1979
    ...Citizens to Preserve Overton Park, Inc. v. Volpe, 401 U.S. 402, 416, 91 S.Ct. 814, 28 L.Ed.2d 136 (1970); NLRB v. United Insurance Co., 390 U.S. 254, 88 S.Ct. 988, 19 L.Ed.2d 1083 (1968); Udall v. Tallman, 380 U.S. 1, 85 S.Ct. 792, 13 L.Ed.2d 616 (1965). See generally, 4 K. Davis, Administr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
380 cases
  • Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. City of Seattle, No. 17-35640
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • May 11, 2018
    ...workers ... must be answered primarily from the history, terms and purposes of the legislation." NLRB v. United Ins. Co. of Am. , 390 U.S. 254, 256, 88 S.Ct. 988, 19 L.Ed.2d 1083 (1968) (second alteration in original ) (quoting Hearst , 322 U.S. at 124, 64 S.Ct. 851 ). In effect, the Hearst......
  • CREDIT BUREAU CONNECTION INC. v. PARDINI, Case No. CV F 10-1202 LJO GSA.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • August 2, 2010
    ...of the incidents of the relationship must be assessed and weighed with no one factor being decisive.” ( NLRB v. United Ins. Co. of Am., 390 U.S. 254, 258, 88 S.Ct. 988, 19 L.Ed.2d 1083 (1968)); see also, JustMed, Inc. v. Byce, 600 F.3d 1118, 1126 (9th Cir.2010) (citing Aymes v. Bonelli, 980......
  • United States v. Sierra Pacific Indus., No. CIV S–09–2445 KJM–EFB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • May 31, 2012
    ...of the relationship must be assessed and weighed with no one factor being decisive.” Nat'l Labor Relations Bd. v. United Ins. Co., 390 U.S. 254, 258, 88 S.Ct. 988, 19 L.Ed.2d 1083 (1968). Factors to be considered in determining whether one is an agent include: “(a) the extent of control whi......
  • Com. of Mass. v. Andrus, Nos. 78-1036
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — First Circuit
    • February 20, 1979
    ...Citizens to Preserve Overton Park, Inc. v. Volpe, 401 U.S. 402, 416, 91 S.Ct. 814, 28 L.Ed.2d 136 (1970); NLRB v. United Insurance Co., 390 U.S. 254, 88 S.Ct. 988, 19 L.Ed.2d 1083 (1968); Udall v. Tallman, 380 U.S. 1, 85 S.Ct. 792, 13 L.Ed.2d 616 (1965). See generally, 4 K. Davis, Administr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 firm's commentaries
  • NLRB Is Looking to Review (Again) Independent Contractors And Who is Covered
    • United States
    • LexBlog United States
    • March 17, 2022
    ...of the Act. This framework has held true ever since the Supreme Court issued its decision in NLRB v. United Insurance Co. of America, 390 U.S. 254, 256 (1968). However, since the United Insurance decision, the Board has at times revisited the common-law factors to the independent contractor......
1 provisions
  • Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration,
    • United States
    • Federal Register August 22, 2000
    • August 22, 2000
    ...is the putative employer's right to control the means and manner in which the work is performed. NLRB v. United Ins. Co. of America, 390 U.S. 254, 258 (1968). Therefore, the regulation provides that the calculation of the nursing population for purposes of this attestation would not include......

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