The Labor Department is quietly moving to undo a central Obama-era labor policy that made companies more likely to be liable when staffing firms or franchisees don’t pay minimum wages and overtime.
A pair of House lawmakers and some influential advocacy groups want the Labor Department to take a corporate-friendly approach to a big workplace policy question: When can multiple businesses be considered “joint employers,” with each liable for minimum wage and overtime pay violations?
With the appointment of John Ring as the new chairman of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the saga over the joint-employer standard that began in 2015 may seem close to a resolution. However, without a statutory fix by Congress, we may only be approaching the end of the second act.
A key test for deciding when multiple businesses are liable for violating federal labor laws seesawed quite a bit recently, leaving unclear how much longer an Obama-era standard that made it easier to hold companies liable as “joint employers” will be the law of the land.
Who is your employer? Most people don’t have trouble answering this question. In fact, it's something so obvious that only Washington bureaucrats could confuse it.