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Argentina: National Supreme Court ruling clarifies the type of relationship that exists between a medical doctor and a clinic

In the case “Zechner, Evelina Margarita c/ Centro de Educación Médica e Investigaciones Clínicas Norberto Quirno s/ despido” (November 2019), the National Supreme Court of Justice overruled the lower court decision and found that the relationship between a medical doctor and a clinic, which lasted more than 20 years, did not constitute a labour relationship and should be considered a civil services contract.

The Supreme Court based its decision on the following facts and arguments, among others:

First, that the medical doctor paid a rental fee for using the locations of the clinic to perform services. Secondly, the plaintiff collected fees that vary every single month depending on the service actually performed. Additionally, the Supreme Court also considered that the claimant issued no correlative invoices and each invoice was for a different amount.

Therefore, the Supreme Court understood that the medical doctor bore with the clinic, the commercial risk of the activity.

Additionally, the Supreme Court ruled that the fact that the medical doctor coordinated her vacations with the clinic could not automatically lead to the conclusion that she was under a labour relationship, since the clinic needs to control the services performed, similar to many other civil relationships that are not necessarily a labour relationship.

Lastly, the Supreme Court considered the fact that the medical doctor did not raise any claim for almost the entire twenty three years that her relationship with the clinical lasted, as well as the fact that the plaintiff also performed services outside the scope of the clinic.

These facts and arguments led the Supreme Court to conclude that the relationship between the claimant and the clinic was not a labour relationship, but rather a civil services relationship.