Employers Reclassifying Workers to Save Money

July 16, 2015 -Courts and regulatory agencies are increasing the scrutiny coming at employers regarding the relationship with their workers: businesses and independent contractors, contractors and subcontractors, employers and employees. In response, many employers are utilizing different tactics to classify their workers; reclassifying workers to save money by taking them off formal payroll and lowering costs. 

For years, employers have shifted work off their actual employees and on to independent contractors. This relabeling of the workforce with slight alterations to their work conditions left many in court or owing settlements. As this misclassification of employees as independent contractors is receiving such intense focus across industries, many businesses are now turning to other types of employment relationships:

Setting up Workers as Franchisees

Setting up Workers as Owners of LLCs

Both of these methods help to shield the business from tax and labor statutes that are attached to the formal payroll for actual employees of the company.

These new tactics have state and federal agencies aggressively putting a stop to the setup: passing local legislation to address the issue, filing briefs in worker’s lawsuits, and closely keeping an eye on the increasing popularity of what regulatory agencies see as an equally questionable alternative to the independent contractor employment model that has experience such a crackdown.

As employers are finding it more difficult to save costs by avoiding an official payroll, workers are finding that they are required to assume more risk. They suddenly need to shoulder more of the burden for health care premiums, retirement income and even job security. This shift in responsibility from the employer to the worker seems to be spurring the major influx of misclassification suits and allegations.

Employers are seeking more creative ways to misclassify workers. If you feel that you are misclassified or you need to discuss the issue of misclassification with a southern California employment law expert, contact an employment law attorney at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.

California Class Action Lawsuit Claims California Wineries are Lacing Products with Arsenic

April 8, 2015 -Many California wine lovers may be eyeing their favorite local wines with a more suspicious eye after recent accusations that 28 different California wineries are generating arsenic-laced products for the public. The class action lawsuit against the low-cost winemakers was filed earlier this month alleging that they were selling wines containing high levels of a known carcinogen: inorganic arsenic.

This alleged action would be in violation of California state law in which it prohibits knowingly producing, marketing and selling wine contaminated with arsenic. The 28 wineries are also accused of failing to provide consumers with a warning of the potential danger of their products. This is also a violation of California state law.

If you’re wondering if you harbor any of the potential offenders in your own wine collection you may want to be aware of the following brands of wineries included in the lawsuit: Glen Ellen, Beringer, Charles Shaw, and Sutter Home. In the lawsuit, it states that there was an independent testing completed by BeverageGrades out of Denver, Colorado. The lab completed tests for 1,306 different wines with 83 of them with “elevated” arsenic levels. The tests were initially completed in order to determine what the wines were “made of,” but after results were received they could only be described as very disturbing.

The Wine Institute, as a representative of over 1,000 wineries, responded to accusations saying that the allegations were “false and misleading.” They continued their statement to define arsenic as a natural element in the environment all around us: in our air, water, food and soil. Wines, as an agricultural product, will naturally contain trace amounts of arsenic (as do juices, vegetables, grains, etc.) They also stressed that there is no valid research that shows that the trace amounts of arsenic found in agricultural products such as wine pose a health risk for consumers. 

The lawsuit does not request specific financial recompense. Instead it seeks civil penalties and damages. For additional information on southern California class action lawsuits contact Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik