Pickle Pickers are Employees under the FLSA

Pickles in jarsFrom OpenJurist, in Secretary of Labor United State Department of Labor v. Lauritzen, 835 F.2d 1659 (7th Cir. 1988), the court said that pickle pickers were employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The court identified factors to consider in determining whether the workers were employees or independent contractors.  The court said:

“Among the criteria courts have considered are the following six:1) the nature and degree of the alleged employer’s control as to the manner in which the work is to be performed;

2) the alleged employee’s opportunity for profit or loss depending upon his managerial skill;

3) the alleged employee’s investment in equipment or materials required for his task, or his employment of workers;

4) whether the service rendered requires a special skill;

5) the degree of permanency and duration of the working relationship;

6) the extent to which the service rendered is an integral part of the alleged employer’s business….”

Read the full decision at 835 F2d 1529 Secretary of Labor United States Department of Labor v. Lauritzen 

This case was decided in 1988 and these factors are similar to the factors set forth in the recent Administrator’s Interpretation issued by the Department of Labor.   The Administrator’s Interpretation identified the following six factors [the Lauritzen court’s description of the factor is in brackets]

  1. Is the Work an Integral Part of the Employer’s Business? [the extent to which the service rendered is an integral part of the alleged employer’s business]

  2. Does the Worker’s Managerial Skill Affect the Worker’s Opportunity for Profit or Loss? [the alleged employee’s opportunity for profit or loss depending upon his managerial skill]

  3. How Does the Worker’s Relative Investment Compare to the Employer’s Investment? [the alleged employee’s investment in equipment or materials required for his task, or his employment of workers]

  4. Does the Work Performed Require Special Skill and Initiative? [whether the service rendered requires a special skill]

  5. Is the Relationship between the Worker and the Employer Permanent or Indefinite? [the degree of permanency and duration of the working relationship]

  6. What is the Nature and Degree of the Employer’s Control? [the nature and degree of the alleged employer’s control as to the manner in which the work is to be performed]

Richard Reibstein has already written that the Administrator’s Interpretation is nothing new legally and this case supports that observation.  As this case shows, courts have been using the 6 factors in the Administrator’s Interpretation for years.

 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.