Can persons who are company shareholders or close corporation members can also be employed by those entities? The relevance of this seemingly technical question, the article notes, lies in the fact that only 'employees' enjoy the protection of statutes implementing constitutional rights to fair labour practices and equal treatment in the workplace. The age of globalisation, however, has seen a proliferation of atypical employment relationships and workers participating in business ownership.
While focusing on the latter, the article revisits the long-standing judicial engagement with the definition of 'employee'. In light of case law in South Africa and the United Kingdom it is concluded that close corporation members or shareholders - even majority shareholders - are not necessarily excluded from the status of employees.