It is critical that growers who hire workers understand whether or not they are employing a farm labor contractor (FLC). If you hire every worker individually, you probably do not; however if you have someone else hire/bring a crew, or deal with hiring and managing via a crew-chief/lead-person/etc then you may well be using an FLC. In some states the majority of growers use FLCs, there are significant advantages when good contractors are available. This court case from Washington State illustrates why it is so important to understand if you are working with an FLC AND to fulfill your responsibility to do your own due-diligence relative to the licensing, compliance, and insurance status of that FLC. Professional FLCs will have all the licenses, insurance/bonds, and compliance documentation ready for you to see— if they are unprepared—keep looking! “ “The Supreme Court [Washington State] unanimously said yes … companies that used the contractor were responsible for the violations because they had not done their due diligence,” Isley said.—“Folks who use contractors need to make sure those contractors have a license.”” FLCs are like other businesses, the good ones far outweigh the bad, and there are some very good ones out there, including some NCAE Member companies—but it only takes one bad one to ruin your day. Know and understand who you are working with.
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