The Catholic University of America

Summary of District of Columbia Laws

Master - Servant

Case Law: In determining whether a master-servant (i.e. principal-agent or employer-employee) relationship exists, a court looks to the facts of the particular case. The person asserting the relationship has the burden of proving it. The following factors are considered: "(1) the selection and engagement of the servant, (2) the payment of wages, (3) the power to discharge, (4) the power to control the servant's conduct, (5) and whether the work is part of the regular business of the employer." Moorehead v. District of Columbia, 747 A.2d 138, 143 (D.C. 2000). The most important factor is generally the fourth, the right or power to control the servant's conduct. See Beegle v. Restaurant Management, Inc. 679 A.2d 480, 485 (1996) (quoting Safeway Stores, Inc. v. Kelly, 448 A.2d 856, 858 (D.C. 1982)). In assessing this factor, the court looks to both the actual relationship between the parties and any employment contract between them. See id. (citing District of Columbia v. Hampton, 666 A.2d 30, 38 (D.C.1995)).

Revised CPJ 5-14-07
links updated 6/6/08 rab
Page checked July 15th, 2010, FJL.