Portland Columbia Symphony v. Employment Dept.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Employment Law
  • Date Filed: 03-08-2017
  • Case #: A156550
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Garrett, J., for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; & Lagesen, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

For the purposes of ORS 670.600(3)(d), whether an individual contributed a “significant investment” is a factor in determining whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor; if the individual has made a “significant investment” in the business in which the individual works, the factor weighs in favor of determining the individual is an independent contractor.

Petitioner, a symphony orchestra, sought review of the Employment Department’s (the Department) order assessing unemployment tax to Petitioner. Petitioner argued that the administrative law judge (ALJ) incorrectly determined that the symphony’s musicians were employees. Petitioner argued that the ALJ erred in determining that the symphony’s musicians did not contribute a “significant investment” to the symphony under ORS 670.600(3)(d). Whether an individual contributed a “significant investment” is a factor in determining whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor; if the individual has made a “significant investment” in the business in which the individual works, the factor weighs in favor of determining the individual is an independent contractor. ORS 670.600(3)(d). The Oregon Court of Appeals held that the symphony’s musicians contributed a “significant investment” in the symphony for the purpose of business by purchasing and paying to maintain expensive musical instruments. Reversed and remanded.

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