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‘Conflict of Interest’ Voids NLRB Joint-Employer Ruling

March 4, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

WASHINGTON— The National Labor Relations Board announced Feb. 26 that it was voiding its December ruling narrowing when companies can be considered a “joint employer” because of a conflict of interest involving Trump appointee William Emanuel.

The ruling, made on a 3-2 party-line vote, overturned the board’s Obama-era decision expanding when companies could be held responsible for working conditions, for example preventing fast-food corporations from claiming that wage and hour violations at their franchises have nothing to do with them. The NLRB’s three other members voted unanimously to void the ruling after the agency’s top ethics official noted that Emanuel should have been disqualified because his old law firm had represented Browning-Ferris, the company involved in the 2015 decision it reversed, and there was not enough new evidence to warrant reopening the issue. Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) had criticized Emanuel for not recusing himself from the vote. NLRB general counsel Peter Robb had already used the December ruling to delay an attempt by the Fast Food Workers Organizing Committee to have McDonald’s ruled a joint employer. Read more

March 4, 2018

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