CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: Grillo's Pickles

If you haven't been to the Grillo's Pickles website, you should. There, you'll find the fantastic story of how this company began. We've copied part of it here to save you a click.

Grillo's Pickles began with a pickle cart, just a small wooden stand in downtown Boston, where Travis Grillo and his friends would sell two spears for one dollar. Travis would make the pickles by night using his family's 100-year old recipe - one he'd memorized from making pickles every summer as a kid. In the morning, Travis would bike to the Boston Common and set up the cart with his buddies. They'd hang out all day, urging people to try the simple Grillo family pickle. It was a small business but Travis worked hard for it. He made more pickles, biked more miles, and slept less hours than he ever had before.
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CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: Factory Five Racing

Factory Five Racing was founded in 1995. Over the years they have grown from a start-up business in a small garage to become the world's largest manufacturer of "build-it-yourself" component car kits. They employ a full-time crew of about 40 people, and are located in Wareham, Massachusetts (about an hour south of Boston). They make their products right here in the USA, in the heart of New England where American manufacturing was born.
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CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: Luca + Danni

Fred and Danny Magnanimi grew up watching their father create beautiful, handcrafted jewelry in the family's Cranston, RI jewelry manufacturing business. When the boys grew up, Fred moved to New York and began working on Wall Street as an investment banker, while younger brother Danny, still enamored by the family business, stayed home. Increased competition from overseas businesses created significant challenges for the business, but Danny was confident he could find a way for the family business to evolve and thrive. This was his mission, this was his passion.
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        "US Department of Labor to Aggressively Pursue Misclassification Matters"

        Employers have many ways of getting into trouble.  We hope that after reading this you will avoid one of them; namely, misclassifying employees as independent contractors. 

        The US Department of Labor (DOL) just awarded over $10,000,000 in grants to 19 states to improve efforts of finding and prosecuting employers who improperly classify employees as independent contractors. What does this mean?  In short, employers can expect increased scrutiny of their hiring practices by the DOL and state labor enforcement agencies. 

        In this labor environment, many employers need more help but are reluctant to hire due to costs and uncertainties regarding future workflow.  Hiring "independent contractors" would appear to address that dilemma. Cognizant of this approach and the negative effects of abusing the same (e.g., lost taxes, workers not covered by Worker’s Compensation, etc.), the DOL has re-energized its prosecution of those who abuse the distinction between employee and independent contractor.

        No one test or set of criteria will definitively establish whether someone is an independent contractor or employee.  Rather, the focus is on a number of factors including, without limitation, whether the worker performs work customarily performed by the employer and the degree to which the employer exercises control over the worker. 

        If the worker is hired to perform the type of work typically performed by the employer, then this factor may well tilt the balance in favor of finding the worker to be an "employee".  For example, if a plumber lands a large job and needs an additional plumber to help with that job, the worker might well be considered an employee even though the worker was hired for only one job. If, however, the plumber hires a carpenter to re-frame a wall to accommodate the plumber’s work, then that worker’s job (carpentry) might be sufficiently different from the employer’s job (plumbing) to classify the worker as an independent contractor. 

        Another key factor is the degree to which the employer controls the worker’s conduct.  Typically, the less control exerted by the employer, the less likely the worker will be classified as an employee (particularly if performing a different type of work as noted above).

        Employers contemplating hiring "independent contractors" should consult with counsel to ensure they do not inadvertently fall victim to this latest round of government scrutiny.