Farm Fined for Using Volunteers – Rules and Risks

A California farm was recently fined $115,000 for violations extending from the use of volunteers.

“A small-time vintner’s use of volunteer workers has put him out of business after the state squeezed him like a late-summer grape for $115,000 in fines — and sent a chill through the wine industry. The volunteers, some of them learning to make wine while helping out, were illegally unpaid laborers, and Westover Winery should have been paying them and paying worker taxes, the state Department of Industrial Relations said.”  – Read the full story from the San Jose Mercury News Here

For-profit farms that use volunteers are taking risks. The story is from California but much of the same legal basis exists in other states.
In a recorded webinar from last winter, Rachel Armstrong. and Attorney and Executive Director of Farm Commons explains the rules and risks. Folks can watch it anytime here

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