Workers' Compensation

Washington: High Court Defines “Farm Labor Contractor”

In a class action lawsuit by farmworkers against four corporate defendants, the Supreme Court of Washington answered two certified questions submitted by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Regarding the first question, the Court held that under Wash. Rev. Code ch. 19.30.010(2) and (3), the definition of a “farm labor contractor” includes an entity who is paid a per-acre fee to manage all aspects of farming—including hiring and employing agricultural workers as well as making all planting and harvesting decisions, subject to approval—for a particular plot of land owned by a third party. As to the second question, the Court held that under Wash. Rev. Code ch. 19.30.200, any person who uses the services of an unlicensed farm labor contractor without either inspecting the contractor’s license or obtaining a representation from the Washington State Department of Labor that the contractor is properly licensed is jointly and severally liable with that contractor, even if that person lacked knowledge that the farm labor contractor was unlicensed.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is the co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Saucedo v. John Hancock Life & Health Ins. Co., 2016 Wash. LEXIS 316 (Mar. 3, 2016)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 75.01.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law