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Federal Labor Officials Work to Change Decades of Precedent in Joint-Employer Decision

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On Friday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) named McDonald’s Corporation as a joint employer with 13 charges involving alleged unfair labor practices committed by McDonald’s franchisees. This echoes General Counsel Robert Griffin’s assertions in July that the joint employer standard should be changed to a much broader definition "if one of the entities wields sufficient influence over the working conditions of the other entity's employees such that meaningful bargaining could not occur in its absence." (Read more.) The current standard is that a secondary company can be judged a "joint employer" if it has "direct and immediate impact" on the worker's terms and conditions - if that second company is involved in hiring and determining pay levels.

If the NLRB uses the new joint employer standard in its decision in the Browning-Ferris case it is expected to decide shortly, this could have a dramatic impact on what it means to be an employer and an employee. Browning-Ferris involves a subcontractor/contractor relationship at a recycling facility. A new joint employer standard could mean that many contracting companies and franchisers find themselves designated as joint employers of their contractors' and franchisees' employees.  

NRMCA joined the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace’s amicus brief on Browning-Ferris and will continue to monitor changes in labor law closely.

For more information, please contact NRMCA’s Elizabeth Fox at

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Fritz-Pak Corporation
MPAQ Automation
Xypex Chemical Corp
McNeilus Truck & Manufacturing, Inc.
900 Spring Street
Silver Spring, MD, 20910
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