Jeffrey Ruzal Quoted in “Caddie Concerns”

The Private Club Advisor July 2017

Jeffrey H. Ruzal, a Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, was quoted in The Private Club Advisor, in “Caddie Concerns,” by Jackie Carpenter.

Following is an excerpt (see below to download the full version in PDF format):

The Department of Labor (DOL) continues to keep club executives on their toes. At the recent National Club Association conference in New York City, Jeffrey Ruzal, an attorney with a national workforce management law firm, provided insight and advice for clubs as it pertains to classifying caddies as employees or independent contractors.

“The DOL takes the position that caddies are generally not club employees because they are working for the members,” Ruzal explained. “However that presumption can be challenged, which has resulted in lawsuits throughout the country.”

The lines of employment status are blurred when clubs control the caddies’ working conditions, such as setting the rate at which caddies must be paid by members, or dictating to the caddies when they must work or the members with whom they must work. It is also potentially problematic when clubs require caddies to wear shirts or hats with the club logo. “Control over these conditions will support employment status,” he warned.

In order to avoid the appearance of an employment relationship with caddies, clubs should not prevent caddies from working at other courses or direct caddies to perform work for the direct benefit of the clubs, such as cleaning, moving equipment, etc. “Exerting less control over the caddies, although that is a potentially daunting thought, is probably the best practice for clubs to avoid an employment relationship or a potential wage and hour violation,” he said.

If caddies are employed by your club, you must treat them like all non-exempt employees—meaning you must keep track of their time, pay them an hourly wage and premium when they work overtime. Things can get complicated when clubs dictate the pay rate or when the caddie must work, Ruzal added.