DC federal appeals court schedules arguments for NLRB 'joint employer' case

Dive Brief:

  • Browning-Ferris Industries, a waste management firm, looks to overturn a National Labor Relations Board’s ruling on joint employer status in the U.S.  Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, reports the National Law Review. The NLRB ruled that Browning-Ferris was a joint employer with Leadpoint, a staffing services company.
  • In making its landmark decision, the board expanded its previous definition of “joint employer." Under the previous definition, two separate entities were joint employers if they “shared or co-determined those matters governing the essential terms and conditions of employment,” such as supervision, hiring, firing and discipline.
  • The new definition adds a bargaining provision and says a joint employer may have direct or indirect control over managing employees. Teamsters Local 350 filed the petition. Oral arguments are scheduled for March 9.

Dive Insight:

The NLRB expanded its definition of "joint employer" and gives "control" a broader meaning, as well. This could make more companies fit the definition of joint employer, and could have large impact on franchisers, like McDonald's.

As president, Donald Trump gets to appoint three out of the five members of the NLRB. Under a conservative Trump, the board will likely revisit the new definition of joint employer and other pro-labor rulings. 

The importance of the case can’t be over-estimated. If franchisers are indeed joint employers with their franchisees, they could be seen as responsible for thousands more workers, in some cases, increasing liability. 

Filed Under: Legal
Top image credit: Flickr; Tim Evanson