Unconscionable!

John blueoval at 1SMARTISP.NET
Mon Feb 7 16:35:52 MST 2005


Posted: February 3, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern



By Ron Strom
© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com


A Washington state family is about to lose their home after the
Department of Labor and Industries hit the father with thousands
of dollars in fines for having his underage sons work alongside
him in the family business-doing things the state believes are
dangerous for young boys.


In 2003, Jude Doty was fined $34,000 by the agency for "employing"
his
then 11-year-old and 13-year-old sons even though both boys did
not fit what Doty says are the criteria for official employment.
Later, he was assessed $20,000 for unpaid workers' compensation
insurance for his children and other workers, along with $87,000
in penalties.



"Since 1992, I had been moving houses as a general contractor, and
as
common for self-employed fathers, I found the opportunity to take
my boys, and thought nothing strange of it," explains Doty on his
website,
FamiliesThatWork.org. "I was involved in teaching our children,
especially in the faith, and they would accompany me occasionally,
from the time they were weaned. We believe that children are a
gift from the Lord to the parents, and that we, not the state,
have been given the responsibility to train them."


Doty lists the violations the Department of Labor and Industries
says
he is guilty of: "It was a $250 a day fine for them working during
school hours even though we legally set our own hours as
homeschoolers, $500 a day for having no superior court judge
permit, $1,000 a day for them working on a construction site (our
private property), $1,000 a day for them working near our heavy
equipment, plus $1,000 a day for them operating our backhoe and
$1,000 a day for being a 'helper on a public roadway.'"


Doty, who is the father of seven, says the department conspired
with
Child Protective Services to take his son Zach from him when he
visited the Labor and Industries building. Later, he says, the
agency secured a court order that "directed . all persons in
active concert . to remove" Doty's boys from any work site or
equipment.


Commented Doty: "Can you imagine that a neighbor or police can
now
forcibly remove your child from your family business and your
private property because they worked with their dad?"


The state agency, according to Doty, told him: "You were the
individual
directing [your son] to do the activities," which determined an
employment relationship, the officials claimed.


"Now, my boys wanted to work with me, which is quite normal,"
writes
Doty. "Boys without constructive work opportunities frequently end
up in
trouble. In fact, every L&I worker we questioned said they had a
job before age 12."


Doty says in the past the Department of Labor and Industries has
argued
against allowing parents to consider their children employees.


Writes Doty: "L&I has successfully argued before the State
Supreme
Court three times that an employer/employee relationship between a
parent and child cannot exist unless all four of these conditions
exist: 1)
emancipation, 2) a written contract, 3) fixed compensation, and
4)
freedom to spend the money without parental control. ."


Doty claims the agency has done a complete reversal in his case,
saying, "L&I now claims that the four conditions have 'no
significance' and are 'not a determining factor' for identifying
employment between a parent and child. Remember, without an
employment relationship, they have no jurisdiction."



The Jude Doty family (photo: Seattle Times).




Another contention of the agency Doty disputes is that having his
boys
work with him is an unreasonable risk. He points out there are
"jobs" that
the courts and public schools have minors do that are far riskier
than the
work his sons did for him. Citing a U.S. Department of Labor
report, Doty
states workers under 17 have the lowest incidents of workplace
accidents and deaths. Non-work activities of youth, "such as
sports, recreation,
transportation, crime," have much worse safety records than
working,
Doty points out.


Doty further criticizes both the state agency and former Attorney
General Christine Gregoire, now Washington's governor, who claim
if a parent receives "appreciable benefit" from a child's work it
is considered
"employment."


Writes Doty: "The department claims that if you 'allow' your child
to
carry in the mail for a family 'enterprise' then you have
'employed' them.
Labor contracts and wage disputes, standardized drug testing,
privacy rights and myriads of employment laws and rights will all
supersede parental rights."


He says if the bureaucracy were to enforce such a standard it
would
mean making sure none of the 700,000 businesses in Washington
state received any "appreciable benefit" from the children of
business owners. It also could lead to minor children filing
claims against their parents for work done, Doty says.


A Department of Labor and Industries report points to one of the
reasons the government is penalizing Doty.


"Why is the department pushing this audit issue?" the report asks.
"By
using his children instead of hiring more workers and by not
paying workers' comp on his kids or on his other workers, by
cutting these and other
corners, Mr.
Doty has been able to bid so low on jobs that other businesses
couldn't
compete. It's part of L&I's effort to 'level the playing field,'
which
helps
keeps rates down."


Doty claims he did pay $7,000 in workers' comp premiums for that
audit
period, but had not paid on his sons, since he says they were not
employees.


Ron Langley, a spokesman for the Department of Labor and
Industries,
explained the agency's position on the case - that Doty has
endangered
his children with the specific things he directed them to do on
the job.


"Current policy - and current state law - in terms of child or
teen
labor is that, with the exception of agriculture, the same laws'
protection that apply to any minor under 18 would apply to any
business in which family members are working," he told WND.
"Essentially, the same requirements would apply either way."


Continued Langley: "Doty was cited for violation of state
child-labor
laws because his boys were engaged along with Mr. Doty in his
business in
activities that are deemed by law and regulation too hazardous for
minors to be doing."


Langley said he wasn't able to argue the legal specifics of the
case,
partly because it is "in the midst of litigation."


So what specifically were the boys doing to cause the attention
of
regulators? According to a Seattle Times article, during one
house-moving job Doty's sons were riding on the peak of the house
as it moved down the street, witnesses reported, pushing up
low-hanging traffic lights. They were flagging traffic at
construction sites, driving bulldozers and backhoes, and they
seldom - if ever - wore protective gear, according to the report.


Reuel Paradis is the Yakima regional administrator for the state
agency. "My bottom line is that these children should have an
opportunity to survive to adulthood," Paradis told the Times. "I
absolutely support [Doty] in his contention that he was in the
right to teach his children a work ethic, but I also really
believe that there are jobs that aren't appropriate for some age
groups."


Saying the agency is using delay as a tactic, Doty claims
officials
have strung out the process on his case in hopes of wearing him
down. It has taken 22 months for him to get the $34,000 claim to
superior court.


"If it weren't for numerous letters from senators and
representatives
in the state, we would have been hung out there in the
administrative hearing process," he told WND.


Doty, who says he has paid over $40,000 in legal fees, relays the
financial action the state has taken against him:


"They seized over $100,000 in cash bonds, my bank account, the
properties, a contract and equipment. With the liens, I wasn't
bondable, which completely put me out of business! They referred
to me as a 'felon,' and for 16 months have identified me as a
'repeat offender' on their website."


Said Langley: "Labor and Industry has placed liens on real estate
and
equipment for collection of premiums, penalties and interest for
workers' compensation coverage. We have not at this point
exercised any of those liens."


Doty closed his business in July 2003 and will likely lose his
home
tomorrow: "L&I even took title to our family van, and now our home
is
scheduled for a sheriff's sale on Feb. 4."


Said Doty: "By God's grace we've been able to survive and eat.
Right now we've got the utilities turned off."


The Doty family could be evicted within a month of the sale, he
said.
Even so, Doty is optimistic that his arguments will win the day.


On his website, Doty cites what he sees as the bottom-line issue
with
the state agency.


"The real cause is L&I's deliberate intrusion into the family,
destroying the father's authority to direct his children's
'activities,'
consequently pushing his sons away from his mentorship to more
peer-dominated activities," he writes "This assault on fathers is
greatly responsible for the fact that there are more of our
nation's 13 to 17-year-olds killed every three weeks than lost in
one year of the war in Iraq. That's 15 times the casualties of the
Gulf War annually, with virtually no one reporting or even
recognizing the true enemy.


"We've lost our business and this week it may be our home. But
when it comes down to losing the opportunity to work with our
youth, we will stand. If we do nothing, we will surrender our
constitutional God-given right to apprentice our youth, and our
children's rightful inheritance of being with their fathers. Satan
wants to rob children of their fathers' influence, but Scripture
encourages: 'He shall turn the heart of the fathers to their
children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.'
(Malachi 4:6) They're not my employees, they're my children!"



<end>



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