Independent Contractors

Time and time again business fall into the trap of believing they have an independent contractor providing work or services for them when, really, they have an employee.  Getting that determination wrong can have far reaching consequences in many areas, whether it be lack of withholding taxes, a requirement to bear the burden of unemployment benefits, unknown exposure to discrimination charges and wrongful termination cases, or consequences in many other areas that arise from an employer/employee relationship.
For whatever reason, business owners often believe that all they need to ensure the relationship is one of an independent contractor is a signed agreement.  While that is a good, and sometimes necessary first step, it does not go far enough.  Most states examine how the relationship actually plays out and apply a number of factors to make a determination.
The most important factor in almost every state is “control.”  Who controls the work?  Does the putative employer require the putative employee to be certain places at certain times to perform certain tasks?  Does the putative employer or putative employee decide how and when the work is to be done?  If it appears that the putative employer controls most aspects of the relationship, it is much more likely that there is an employer/employee relationship.
Other relevant questions include: who provides the tools to ensure the work can be completed? Is the putative employee paid by the hour or by the project?  Does the putative employee have its own company that provides services or are the services integrated into the putative employer’s business?  Does the putative employee provide services for other companies?  Is the work performed on the putative employer’s site or elsewhere?  Can the putative employee quit without ramifications or is there some sort of contractual liability for termination of the relationship?
There are many other factors that weigh in to the analysis. But with the ramifications being so far-reaching, it is worth a business owner’s time and effort to make sure the relationship is set up right.

Preparing for Winter Weather

With the leaves beginning to change and fall arriving, comes the start of winter weather conditions in many parts of the country. As with all inclement weather, basic preparedness can go a long way towards keeping outdoor workers safe. According to an OSHA article, here are some steps employers should take to prepare employees for the upcoming wintry weather:

Outdoor workers should be trained on how to recognize the signs of cold stress, the importance of monitoring coworkers and themselves, basic cold weather first aid, and how to select clothing for cold weather. They should also be made aware of other outdoor winter hazards such as wind, icy roads, and downed power lines

As the cold weather begins, continue to visit our blog for tips on staying warm and protecting outdoor employees from the elements.

Employment Situation Update

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, total non farm employment increased by 151,000 in 2015.

The number of people who are unemployed was relatively unchanged and the unemployment rate has been at 4.9% for the last three months. Over the last year, food and beverage positions have added 312,000 jobs. Jobs in construction, manufacturing, warehousing, etc have not changed a significant amount.

The Higher Quest Foundation Spotlight-Thailand

In 2007, the Higher Quest Foundation (sponsored by Trojan Labor and Acrux Staffing) completed their first fish farm project. The fish farm was built at Ban Meat Children’s village in Petchabun, Thailand. The children’s village is home to over 90 children and a school that feeds all of it’s students (who are children from the local community) a free lunch each day.

The farm was a huge  success. This past year they harvested thousands of kilos of fish that will provide the children and orphanage staff with delicious, protein filled meals.

The foundation’s first farm  set the foundation for all of the projects after it. With each successful farm, the foundation is one step closer to it’s goal of ending global hunger in a sustainable way.

To learn more about the Higher Quest Foundation, visit