The National Labor Relations Board has edited its standard for determining joint-employer status in a 3-2 decision relating to the high-profile Browning-Ferris Industries of California case. On appeal from the union involved, NLRB ruled yesterday that Browning-Ferris was a joint employer under its revised standard. The board said that the revised standard is designed “to better effectuate the purposes of the Act in the current economic landscape,” in which the sharing economy and the 2.87 million workers employed through temporary agencies generally go without protections that the general workforce takes for granted. The NLRB applied “long established principles” to expand the notion of sufficient control for joint employer status by considering “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.”
The National Retail Federation has come out against the decision, stating that: “The NLRB’s decision disregards 30 years of clear precedent requiring a joint employer to have direct and immediate control over employees, and it unnecessarily blurs the distinctions between independent parties in a wide range of normal business-to-business relationships such as franchising or subcontracting.”
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