Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Instructor at Yoga School Is An Employee

Matter of Yoga Vida v. Commissioner of Labor, ___A.D. 3d___(3d Dep't. July 31, 2014), is an interesting case.  In the context of Unemployment, the court had to decide whether a Yoga instructor was an employee. In concluding that she was, the court applied the right to control test and reasoned:

                Classes were held in Yoga Vida's studios and students were solicited by the                 company. [*2]Yoga Vida published class schedules on its website and set the duration of                 each class. Instructors were compensated by check according to a negotiated rate, with                 some instructors preferring a set rate for each class and others electing to take a percentage                 of the fees that were collected from students who attended classes. Patton averred that                 the  instructors were an integral part of Yoga Vida's business (see Matter of Professional                 Career Ctr., Inc. [Commissioner of Labor], 105 AD3d 1219, 1220 [2013]), and he                 personally ensured that they were properly certified and had adequate training and                 expertise to conduct classes. While Yoga Vida disputed that it supervised the instructors,                 Patton conceded that he would personally address instructors regarding their manner of                 instruction if it posed a risk of injury to the students or if they were otherwise engaged in                 conduct that he found objectionable. Overall, despite the existence of evidence that could                 result in a contrary result, the record contains substantial evidence to support the Board's                 decision that Yoga Vida had sufficient control over the instructors' work, thereby allowing                 for a finding of an employer-employee relationship (see Matter of Anwer [Exclusive                 Fragrance & Cosmetics, Inc.—Commissioner of Labor], 114 AD3d at 1115; Matter of                 Human Performance, Inc. [Commissioner of Labor], 28 AD3d 971, 972 [2006]; Matter of                 Fitness Plus [Commissioner of Labor], 293 AD2d 909, 910 [2002])

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/adjunctprofs/2014/08/instructor-at-yoga-school-is-an-employee.html

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