Agriculture and agriculture companies have for decades set up agricultural contractors (“FLCs”) and/or other professional employers` organizations to provide regular but seasonal staff to support pre-harvest and harvesting processes. LFCs can be attractive, in part because they can provide strong and efficient staff to farmers who are having difficulty finding enough manpower to do all the necessary work during peak harvesting and harvesting periods. The use of FLCs can also allow agricultural and agricultural enterprises to spend most of their time focusing on the “high level” /Big Picture needs of their businesses, while delegating daily labour monitoring to the FLCs. In California, FLCs must be dismissed by the Labour Commissioner. Labour Code 1683. FLCs can improve a company`s production and profitability. However, the conclusion of relationships with CFCs may also lead farmers to face complaints based on the FLC`s non-compliance with California labour laws. Unfortunately, the Arredondo case indicates that widespread practice between farms and FLCs can lead to a common employer relationship. In particular, Delano Farms and its FLCs had a long-standing business relationship, in which the FLC dictated most of the conditions of workers` employment, but allowed the company to influence employees` hourly wages. The workers` work (pre-harvest and harvesting process) was an integral part of the Delano Farms operation, very little training or expertise was required to carry out the work, and the work was done on the Delano farms site.
One way for companies to explore is to include well-developed compensation and/or the obligation to defend the provisions contained in their contracts with CPCs. Companies should also consider providing periodic copies of workers` pay slips and time records to confirm whether they are paying workers in accordance with existing laws. While this error can be interpreted as the exercise of workers` wage controls (a factor that shifts to the search for a common employer relationship), it can be a good practice, in light of the Opinion of the Arredondo Court that common relations between ICCs and contracted enterprises can lead to a common employer relationship – a systematic verification of wage and time records will at least provide farmers with the opportunity to detect and correct existing labour law violations. For farmers, the Department of Industrial Relations has a Farm Labor Contractors License Database that can help find serious entrepreneurs (www.dir.ca.gov/databases/dlselr/farmlic.html).