NLRB Issues New Joint-employer Final Rule


The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently announced a new joint-employer final rule, which becomes effective April 27, 2020, and applies to labor issues related to the National Labor Relations Act.

The NLRB is changing the standard it uses to determine whether employers are considered joint employers. Specifically, the NLRB is abandoning its decision in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. to return to the previous standard of “substantial direct and immediate control” over essential terms and conditions of employment of another employer’s employees.

The NLRB’s new standard follows the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) new FLSA joint-employment determination test. Both tests focus on the amount of control an employer exerts over the employment relationship.

Joint Employment Joint employment situations can happen when two or more employers share personnel hiring, supervision and management practices. Whether joint employment is by design or unintentional, joint employers are equally:

  • Required to bargain with the union that represents jointly employed workers;

  • Liable for unfair labor practices committed by other joint employers; and

  • Subject to union picketing or other economic pressure if there is a labor dispute.

Next Steps for Employers Employers should review the final rule and determine whether they are in joint employment relationships based on the updated standard. Employers in these relationships should also determine whether the other joint employers in the relationship are in compliance with labor and employment laws.

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