Lofty Lawns (graded)
(TCO 1) Larry Land establishes a landscaping business under the name “Lofty Lawns.” The business handles lawn care and seasonal flowers for apartment complexes, condominium associations, and homeowner associations. Larry wants to keep labor costs, legal liability, and administrative paperwork to a minimum. When he hires groundskeepers, he requires them to sign an “independent contractor” agreement that acknowledges they are independent contractors, not employees. He does not require that they be incorporated or have experience. He provides a free 1-day training seminar on lawn care “the lofty lawn way” to all his workers. He requires them to buy their own white truck and to buy from him (at cost) the trim package that says “Lofty Lawns” on the side and back of the truck. He requires them to maintain their own vehicle liability insurance (and show proof of insurance), and to pay for their own gas and truck maintenance. Lofty Lawn provides all the mowers, leaf blowers, and other landscaping equipment.
Workers are required to call in for a list of their day-to-day assignments, drive to the properties, perform the necessary work, call for the next job assignment, etc. They are expected to be “on call” (available) from 8 AM-4 PM, Monday through Friday. While working, they must wear the official “Lofty Lawns” T-shirt (summer) or sweatshirt (winter). Workers are paid a flat fee per property serviced, based on the amount of work and time necessary to complete the job. They must pay their own expenses to travel from one property to another, but they are guaranteed that jobs will not be more than 10 miles apart. They are not paid any benefits, such as health insurance, vacation or sick pay. Lofty Lawns does not deduct any withholding taxes (income taxes or payroll taxes) from their paychecks. Once each week, Larry visits the property where each worker is performing grounds work, monitors the work being done, and instructs the workers if he sees a need for improvement or a change in how they work the property. These weekly inspections can be on any day of the week so that the worker doesn’t know when to expect Larry. Based on his worksite monitoring and on customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction, Larry adjusts the rate of compensation for each worker twice each year. Almost all of Larry’s workers work for him on a 40+ hour week basis and do not work for any other landscaping company.
Recently, Will Worker was driving from one customer’s property to the next customer, ran a red light, and accidentally struck the car being driven by Sarah Senior, injuring her and damaging her car. Unfortunately, Will had just missed his last auto insurance premium payment, so his insurance company denied coverage. Sarah wants to pursue Larry’s business, “Lofty Lawns” for her damages. What is Sarah’s theory? Will she succeed?
TLC Pet Care (graded)
(TCO 9) TLC Pet Care Centers, a franchise operation of pet care clinics with boarding, has 56 full-time and 28 part-time employees at 13 locations. Employees include licensed veterinarians, veterinary assistants, animal groomers and front desk help. Many of the part-time employees are high school and college students who help with animals being boarded, by walking dogs, cleaning cages and helping with check-in and check-out. The management of TLC Pet Care Centers wants to establish uniform standards for these part-timers. To ensure that applicants have a real interest in working with animals, a “veterinary aptitude test” is being proposed, which would require applicants to identify various cat and dog breeds from a picture chart and name body parts of dogs and cats with proper veterinary terms. Another proposal is that each high school or college student who applies show a grade of “B” or higher in high school or college biology. Management also wants to insist that part-timers show they’ve resided at the same address for at least 6 months, as of way of avoiding hiring “transient” student labor.
Management also wants all applicants (full and part-time) to pass a “psychological screening” test to insure they do not have violent tempers or anger control problems that would create a risk of an animal being abused. Management is looking for a test to use for this. In the event an employee is ever suspected of abusing an animal, TLC’s current policy is that the employee will be required to submit to a polygraph test (lie detector test) regarding the alleged incident. Every employee must pass a drug screening test prior to being employed, in order to insure a drug-free workplace. This fact is prominently stated on the top of TLC’s employment application form. In addition, the employee handbook at TLC states that any employee reporting for work whose conduct causes the manager on duty to suspect drug use (including alcohol intoxication) is grounds for that employee to submit to blood or urine testing. Refusal under that circumstance is grounds for termination.
Are these policies at TLC Pet Care Centers in compliance with the law? If not, why not?