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NLRB Proposes Rollback of Obama-Era Joint-Employer Rules

September 25, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

WASHINGTON—The National Labor Relations Board on Sept. 13 released a proposed rule that would make it much more difficult for companies to be held responsible for working conditions at their subcontractors or franchisees. The new rule would protect companies from being considered a “joint employer” that can be held liable for labor-law violations or have to bargain with a union unless it exercises “substantial, direct, and immediate control” over the hiring, firing, discipline, supervision, and direction of another firm’s employees. That would reverse the standard the NLRB set in 2015, when it ruled that Browning-Ferris Industries was a joint employer of 260 workers at one of its California recycling plants. BFI hired those workers through a staffing agency and they took direct orders from an agency supervisor, but the NLRB held that Teamsters Local 350 had been prevented from bargaining a meaningful contract with that agency, because BFI dictated wages and work procedures. The NLRB had overruled the BFI standard in December 2017, but it voided that vote after its inspector general ruled that Trump appointee William J. Emanuel had a conflict of interest. The board will receive public comments on the proposed rule for 60 days. Read more

September 25, 2018

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