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Hash Oil Headaches

Hash Oil Headaches

As new industries arise, old problems can resurface and cause a lot of headaches for employers. The most common one for employers right now is employee status. Who is considered an employee? How can you provide work for someone without being responsible for workers compensation premiums for them, especially if the work is high risk? Uber has been grappling with the independent contractor vs. employee issue for a few years now. The cannabis industry is just beginning to have the same problems and it all boils down to hash oil. What’s the Problem? When produced commercially, hash oil can be expensive. Cannabis operations may find it cheaper to hire someone to make the hash oil for them using the butane extraction process, or purchase it from a local “manufacturer”. This independent contractor may be working out of his or her own home, or in a makeshift facility, such as a shed, near the cannabis dispensary. The butane process is dangerous, and without proper venting and proper equipment, explosions can happen. These explosions cause property damage as well as injury to the independent contractor. How Is This Your Problem? It may seem like a cut-and-dried issue: you hired an independent contractor, so his injuries are his problem, not yours. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. Like in the case of California Uber drivers suing for employee status to cover on-the-job injuries, independent hash oil contractors are contacting law firms looking for someone to pay their medical bills. That someone will most likely end up being you. You may have an employment contract with someone signifying he is an independent contractor, but...
Who Is Considered An Employee?

Who Is Considered An Employee?

The classification of a working person as an employee would seem to be an easy decision, right?  If you hire a person and you pay wages to that person on a regular basis then the person is an employee. If you didn’t technically “hire” him and you don’t actually provide his payroll, then he isn’t an employee.  Or is he? You may intend for employment status to be determined by contract negotiations.  However, it is most often determined by a labor board (in the event of a complaint) or in a courtroom (in the event of an injury lawsuit). The California Department of Industrial Relations, the Department of Labor and the IRS have much to say on the status of all types of labor and whether someone might be considered an employee, even if you didn’t hire them and even if you don’t pay them.  Let’s look at a few of these.   Is a Volunteer an Employee? This might seem like a simple answer.  If someone is volunteering, they aren’t being paid, so they wouldn’t be considered an employee.  This is true, except when they ARE considered employees. The key word when determining the employment status of a volunteer is intent.  What is the intent of the employer with regard to the volunteer, and what are the intentions with regard to the work being performed by the volunteer?   No. Non-employees intend to volunteer their services for public service, religious or humanitarian reasons without contemplating being paid.  These would include people volunteering after a disaster or even those volunteering regularly in a non-commercial operation such as a shelter....