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NLRB Redefines “Joint- Employer” Status

In a 3-2 decision, the National Labor Relations Board NLRB has made a decision that redefines “joint employer status” and will likely change the way many businesses deal with their workers, whether employees or contract labor.

The decision, applauded by the unions, is seen by some as a move to further the Obama-union relationship and to pave the way for union expansion during the last 18 months of the Obama administration.

According to an article in The Hill citing the majority opinion, “In the decision, the Board applies long-established principles to find that two or more entities are joint employers of a single workforce if (1) they are both employers within the meaning of the common law; and (2) they share or codetermine those matters governing the essential terms and conditions of employment. In evaluating whether an employer possesses sufficient control over employees to qualify as a joint employer, the Board will – among other factors -- consider whether an employer has exercised control over terms and conditions of employment indirectly through an intermediary, or whether it has reserved the authority to do so. “

“In its decision, the Board found that BFI was a joint employer with Leadpoint, the company that supplied employees to BFI to perform various work functions for BFI, including cleaning and sorting of recycled products. In finding that BFI was a joint employer with Leadpoint, the Board relied on indirect and direct control that BFI possessed over essential terms and conditions of employment of the employees supplied by Leadpoint as well as BFI’s reserved authority to control such terms and conditions.”

The documents are published on the NLRB news website here.