Liability for using unlicensed company

| 15/09/2016

I use the services of a janitorial cleaning company. The persons they send to clean my home are not Caymanians and when I pay for these services the cheque is made to the janitorial cleaning company. I have not checked that the janitorial cleaning company has a trade and business licence nor have I checked that the cleaning persons have valid work permits in the same way that I would not check that a local grocery has a proper licence and their employees, if not Caymanian, have a valid work permit. If the janitorial company is not properly licensed and its employees not on proper permits, have I committed a criminal offence in Cayman?

Auntie’s answer: Two separate laws have to be considered to answer your question. The issue of an unlicensed janitorial company falls under the provisions of the Trade and Business Licensing Law. Under that law, Part 3, Section 17 specifies no one can operate a business without being licensed, which you clearly understand.

As for determining if you have any liability under the law for using the services of an unlicensed business, I sought advice from the Department of Commerce and Investment (DCI). You will be relieved to know that the news is good for you.

A DCI official explained that you have not committed a criminal offence but the transaction itself between the consumer and the company “may attract criminal sanction” because the business is contravening the law. Simply put, the janitorial company would be the one in hot water, not you.

On the point of using someone without a work permit through a company, I looked for help from the Department of Immigration. Once more, you have nothing to worry about. Here is what I was told: “Under the Immigration Law, there is no obligation for an individual to check the immigration status of work permit holders of janitorial companies.”

You are therefore free to enjoy a clean home without any legal concerns.

 The laws mentioned in this column can be found online on the CNS Library.


Category: Ask Auntie, Immigration Questions

Comments (8)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The DCI Official is wrong. Under the Proceeds of Crime Law – “A person commits an offence if he enters into or becomes concerned in an arrangement which he knows or suspects facilitates (by whatever means) the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by or on behalf of another person.”

    • Anonymous says:

      True but not sure this would meet the objective standard of what a reasonable person would do under the PCL. Otherwise it would limit all commercial activity if one is required to verify licensing and work permit status of each company you do business with as a private individual.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Would your response hold true with regard to hiring any company? In other words, are we to understand that if we are hiring a purported company’s services, we are not obliged to verify if they have a T&B, health insurance and pension for themselves and their employees? If that is correct, then who does verify that these companies are operating within the laws of the Islands?

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps the licensing authority? There should also be checks and balances within the system. So if the company is paid with a cheque, they would need to deposit into an account at a commercial bank. Not sure what commercial banks do for due diligence on local corporate entities but presumably this would include establishing existence and if there are regular funds flowing into the account then establishing the legitimacy of the transactions- I.e. A TBL

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s quite easy to find out if the company has a T & B License. The list is on the DCI website.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I wouldn’t believe anything and never hire a local for anything because that could come back to haunt me the local would want insurance sick pay holidays and all kinds of benefits

    • duppy rising says:

      What a horrible excuse for a human you are. People like you should be forcibly removed from the Cayman Islands and never be allowed to return under any circumstances whatsoever.

      • Anonymous says:

        we call that the broad broom of laziness. it satisfies him to call all lazy so he does not have to work but still wants all the benefits of the country. and most of the countries you all come from are disasters that you are running away from.