Keeping Up with Farm Labor Laws

Tue, 6/14/11

California labor Code Section 2810

A California Labor Code Section adopted in 2003 has been getting more attention recently, as people consider its applicability to grape and other produce growers who contract with third parties to provide vineyard management or other "farm labor." This CA Labor Code Sec 2810 has been read to impose on the landowner/ grower the responsibility to assure that the farm labor contractor has: "funds sufficient to allow the contractor to comply with all applicable local, state, and federal laws or regulations governing the labor or services to be provided." This is a potentially heavy , if not a confusing, burden to impose on the landowner. In fact, the expectation of many landowner/ growers is that, by engaging a vineyard management company or similar business, the landowner/grower need not be concerned about the labor rules and regulations that might apply to employees of the contractor. Many management contracts contain a requirement that the contractor be licensed and perhaps that the contractor have workers compensation insurance in place for its employees…but little else on these topics.

Fortunately, Sec 2810 also provides a "rebuttable presumption affecting the burden of proof" if the agreement with the contractor contains certain information. The list is long and extends far beyond what most landowner/growers usually seek and what contractors typically provide. But we believe that there will be increasing attention on this requirement and the information necessary to come within the rebuttable presumption. Although there is no clear guidance in the regulation, we believe the information could be gathered and incorporated into an agreement with the use of the attached Addendum that we have developed.

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