Browse Proptionary encyclopedia

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Party that hires another party to perform work.


An employer is a party or organization that hires employees to perform tasks in return for money.  The employer can be an individual, organization, government agency, nonprofit, company, or store that interviews potential candidates to work for them.

Real Estate Employers

In the context of real estate, an employer is typically a broker that hires agents as their employees. A broker is typically not an employee, unless he or she is a wage earner or is the recipient of a salary disbursed by another broker. Brokers, at a basic terminological level, are special agents of the principal and are hired to perform a specific task. Execution of that task results in a commission.

Failure to execute the specific task successfully (i.e. buying or selling real property) results in no commission or payment for the broker. Because brokers are not paid for work that does not lead to the execution of a transaction, brokers are not considered employees. Employees, by the true definition of the word, are individuals who receive payment for their time rather than a specific end result, which is the opposite of agents and brokers, who get paid nothing if their work yields no results. Brokers are authorized to act on behalf of the principal by soliciting or negotiating a transaction for the principal.

The relationship between a broker, and agent who works under him or her, is that of a principal and an agent and employee (Business and Professions Code Section 2079.13(b)). Brokers can be held liable for actions of their employees.

Americans with Disabilities Act and Employers

The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush. The law prohibits any form of discrimination against disabled individuals in employment and public accommodation.

A disability under the Act includes a physical impairment, mental impairment, or a record of impairment. It does not need to be severe or permanent to be valid.

The Act makes it unlawful for both public and private employers to discriminate against qualified individuals on the basis of a disability. This provision covers the hiring, firing, compensation, and availability of opportunities in employment.

The public accommodation provision expands the Fair Housing Amendment Act of 1988 to include nonresidential properties. This means that both public places and private businesses must make reasonable accommodations for disabled parties. An example of a reasonable accommodation is altering a walkway to make it wheelchair-accessible.

As with residential properties, however, an accommodation cannot produce an “undue hardship”. If an accommodation is deemed significantly difficult based on a business’s size and financial resources, the business is not required to make it.

The agencies tasked with enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act include the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Federal Communication Commission (FCC), Department of Transportation, and Department of Justice.

California Fair Employment and Housing Act and Employers

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act was enacted in 1959 to prohibit employers from discriminating in their hiring and employment practices.

The Act was created to protect victims from employers, labor organizations, and employment agencies. It specifically targets employer violations and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees.