Employee Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Employee, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Employee?

n. a person who is hired for a wage, salary, fee or payment to perform work for an employer. In agency law the employee is called an agent and the employer is called the principal. This is important to determine if one is acting as employee when injured (for worker’s compensation) or when he/she causes damage to another, thereby making the employer liable for damages to the injured party.

History and Meaning of Employee

The term "employee" has its roots in the Latin word "implicare," which means to involve or employ. The word has been used in the English language since at least the 16th century, and over time it has taken on a legal meaning. Today, an employee is defined as a person who works for an employer and receives payment for their labor.

Examples of Employee

  1. John works for a tech company as a software engineer. He receives a salary and benefits as an employee of the company.
  2. Mary is a part-time employee at a coffee shop. She is paid an hourly wage for her work.
  3. The company hired several new employees to help with the busy holiday season.

Legal Terms Similar to Employee

  1. Contractor: A person who is hired to perform a specific job or service for a company but is not an employee.
  2. Independent contractor: Similar to a contractor, but an independent contractor works for themselves and provides services to multiple clients.
  3. Agent: A person who acts on behalf of another person or entity. In the context of employment law, an employee is considered an agent of their employer.