In December 2022, employees of the Chattanooga accounting firm Croft & Frost were told about an unusual arrangement.
Given cash flow issues and other factors, payroll had been delayed, and they would receive their paychecks that month as gross pay — the way independent contractors or freelancers are typically compensated.
Also, the money would come from a company called Rhino Onward International.
An employment law expert told the Chattanooga Times Free Press the arrangement sounded “bizarre” and that it could draw scrutiny from tax authorities because pay and withholding for employees and contractors is handled very differently.
For employees at the beleaguered accounting firm that for months failed to pay them on time before abruptly laying them off this past week, it now looks like a sign something was amiss.