- Written by Carl Larson
Attempts to save the new Healthy Workplaces Healthy Families Act of 2014 (PSL Law) from its own poor drafting won’t make it in time. Employers are feeling sick over the amount of confusion in calculating timing, accrual rates, and how to track the new leave. Unfortunately, clarity in the form of amendments to the law under AB-304 won’t pass in time to make a difference. The bill experienced a flurry of activity in the weeks before the PSL Law took effect, making it through several readings in the Assembly and passage onto the Senate. However, it looks like those last desperate moments were nothing more than death throes as the bill has been stuck in Senate Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations since June 25th. The PSL law goes into effect July 1, 2015.
- Written by Susannah L. Ashton, Esq.
Troubling news for growers out of Florida: a federal court judge held on May 29, 2015 that growers have joint liability for a farm labor contractor’s (“FLC”) wage and hour violations.
In Garcia-Celestino, et al. v. Consolidated Citrus LP, the FLC Ruiz Harvesting (“Ruiz”) sponsored a group of H-2A workers from Mexico to be furnished to Consolidated Citrus. The H-2A workers incurred extensive personal expenses in order to get to Consolidated Citrus’ worksites in Florida, including paying for their own travel, lodging, food, and Visa applications. The workers were not reimbursed for any of these expenses.
While working in Florida, the H-2A workers were compensated on a piece rate basis that regularly fell below the Adverse Effect Wage Rate and they were required to “pay back” certain earnings to the Company. The H-2A workers incurred further expenses for travel, food, and lodging when their contract was over and they traveled home to Mexico.
In order to determine whether a grower is liable for the wage and hour violations of an FLC, courts will consider the totality of the circumstances. Most often joint liability is found where the grower and FLC share control of the employees or because one entity controls the other. Another indicator of joint liability is whether the employees are economically dependent on both the grower and FLC.