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Total Articles: 38

McDonald’s & The NLRB to Settle a Nearly Four-Year Battle Involving Joint-Employer Status

On March 19, 2018, McDonald’s reached a proposed settlement with the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) to resolve the outstanding litigation concerning alleged labor law violations by McDonald’s franchisees. We previously reported on this case in both 2014 and 2015, stating that the pertinent issue for employers was whether McDonald’s USA should be considered a joint employer with its franchisees, making it liable for their labor law violations. Since the inception of this matter, the Board has changed the standard as to what constitutes a joint employer relationship at least twice. (See our alerts here and here).

2018 Omnibus Funding Bill Keeps Government Open, Minus the Critical Joint-Employer Rider

On March 23, 2018, the last day before a potential government shutdown, Congress passed and the president is expected to sign a massive $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill to fund the federal government through fiscal year (FY) 2018. Although traditionally legislative “riders” to such omnibus spending bills are sometimes added for legislation that is unable to pass Congress as stand-alone bills, this year’s bill did not include the heavily lobbied joint-employer fix to reverse the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) controversial Browning-Ferris Industries decision, which had been a priority for the business community.

eLABORate: The NLRB Once Again Makes It Easier to Be a Joint Employer

In a 3-0 order the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) vacated its December 2017 decision in Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors. The Hy-Brand case had reversed the Board’s controversial decision involving Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. from 2015 (“BFI”), which had arguably expanded the circumstances under which an employer could be found as a “joint employer” with its contractors. The withdrawal of Hy-Brand followed ethical scrutiny into whether new member, William J. Emanuel, should have participated in the decision based on an Inspector General report regarding member Emanuel’s previous law firm’s work for BFI. In so doing, it returned to the “share or codetermine” test for determining joint-employer status announced in BFI. Most importantly, direct and immediate control over terms and conditions of employment would no longer be a prerequisite to joint-employer status. Rather, under the re-instated “traditional” test stating:

NLRB Vacates Hy-Brand Decision Returning to BFI Joint-Employer Standard . . . For Now

In December 2017, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a number of important decisions prior to the end of then chairman Philip Miscimarra’s term. One of those important decisions was Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors, Ltd., 365 NLRB No. 156 (2017). Hy-Brand overturned the Board’s controversial decision in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. d/b/a BFI Newby Island Recyclery, 362 NLRB No. 186 (2015), which imposed new standards for joint-employer determinations. Browning-Ferris was the law of the land for just two years before being overturned by Hy-Brand, and now Hy-Brand has been vacated just two months after it was issued.

National Labor Relations Board Vacates Hy-Brand and Returns to Browning-Ferris Joint Employer Standard

Yesterday, the National Labor Relations Board issued an Order abruptly vacating its decision in Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors. In Hy-Brand, issued in December, the Board overturned the controversial joint employer standards established by the Obama-era NLRB in Browning-Ferris Industries.

Back To Square One: NLRB Reverts To Unworkable Joint-Employer Test – For Now

In what employers are sure to hope is just a temporary—but stinging—setback, the National Labor Relations Board today vacated its December ruling that had freed employers from having to deal with an unworkable and expansive legal test for determining whether an entity was considered a joint employers. Because of allegations that one of the three-member majority was ethically compromised due to his former law firm’s involvement in a related case, the Board decided that it would pull the new legal test and instead revert to the troubling and controversial standard that had been in place since August 2015. What do employers need to know about this development?

NLRB Vacates Hy-Brand Joint Employer Decision Following Inspector General Report

In a surprising reversal, the NLRB on February 26, 2018, vacated its decision in Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors, Ltd., 365 NLRB No. 156 (2017), and restored the Board’s union-friendly joint employer test set forth in Browning-Ferris Industries, 362 NLRB No. 186 (2015) which Hy-Brand had overruled.

Labor Board Returns to Pre-2015 Joint Employer Standard

In Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors Ltd., 365 No. 156 (Dec. 14, 2017), the National Labor Relations Board overturned its standard for determining joint employer status under the National Labor Relations Act established in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., 362 NLRB No. 186 (Aug. 27, 2015). Hy-Brand will be applied retroactively to any matter currently pending before the Board, as well as to all new matters.

It’s Back: NLRB Overturns Specialty Healthcare, Returns to Traditional Community-of-Interest Standard

On December 15, 2017, a divided National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a significant decision in PCC Structurals, Inc., 365 NLRB No. 160, overturning the controversial “overwhelming community-of-interest” test from Specialty Healthcare and its progeny. PCC Structurals thus returns the Board’s “appropriate unit” policy to the traditional community-of-interest standard used for the majority of the NLRB’s history. As a result of overturning Specialty Healthcare, the Board will focus again on not only the commonality between individuals within a petitioned-for unit but also the commonality of those employees with others outside the petitioned-for unit. This focus will likely result in more findings that various narrowly-drawn units are not appropriate and thus lessen the number of “micro-units” ordered by the Board’s regional directors.

NLRB Reverses Joint Employer Standard

Executive Summary: The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) has reversed the controversial joint employer standard created by the Obama Board in the Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. ("BFI") decision, restoring the traditional joint employer test that was in place for decades prior to BFI. On December 14, 2017, the NLRB issued its decision in Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors, Ltd., 365 NLRB No. 156 (2017) (“Hy-Brand”) in which a 3-2 majority overturned the controversial BFI decision.

Gale Force Winds of Change: National Labor Relations Board Reverses Course on Workplace Rules and Joint Employer Standards

Just two days ago, we noted that the winds of change are blowing at the NLRB. Yesterday, those winds picked up considerable force as the newly-constituted NLRB dismantled two earlier cases that were the subject of extensive employer criticism.

eLABORate: NLRB Restores pre-Browning-Ferris Standard for Joint Employers

The newly composed, Republican-majority NLRB has restored the more employer-friendly test for determining joint employer status. As part of a trend we predicted earlier this week, the decision overrules the Obama-Era Board’s 2015 decision in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. d/b/a BFI Newby Island Recyclery, 362 NLRB No. 186 (2015). As a result, “direct and immediate control” is once again a prerequisite for finding joint employers.

Labor Board Dunks On Employer’s Contractor Classification Attempt

In a ruling sure to leave businesses and gig economy companies crying foul, the National Labor Relations Board concluded that workers producing electronic video display content for the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves were misclassified as independent contractors and are actually employees. The Board’s 2-1 decision, announced on August 18, is a setback for businesses seeking certainty in their classification decisions, and is a reminder that the current roster of Labor Board members remains decidedly pro-worker and pro-union. Until the Board is comprised of a majority of Republican appointees, businesses need to be wary in their approach to classification situations (In re Minnesota Timberwolves Basketball LP).

NLRB’s New Joint Employer Standard Receives Chilly Reception During Court of Appeals Hearing

The National Labor Relations Board’s new, expanded “joint employer” standard faced sharp criticism during oral argument at the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Seventh Circuit Says Student Athletes Are Not Employees

Back in August, the National Labor Relations Board threw the higher education community a curve ball ruling that student assistants at Columbia University were employees under the National Labor Relations Act, and were therefore entitled to organize a union. (For more information see our alert on the case.) An obvious question left unanswered by the Columbia University case was whether and under what circumstances students may also be entitled to minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act. On Monday, December 5, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals weighed in on at least part of that issue, holding that two former University of Pennsylvania athletes were not employees of either the University or the NCAA under the FLSA. Berger v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, et al.

Doubling Down: NLRB Joint Employer Standard Under Dual Review

Whether the National Labor Relations Board’s recently articulated joint employer standard can withstand judicial scrutiny is about to be tested. Browning Ferris Industries of California has filed a petition for review (in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit) of the NLRB’s bargaining order, asking the Court to deny enforcement of the Board’s Order requiring the company to bargain with the union based on an election conducted pursuant to the agency’s decision in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., 362 NLRB No. 186 (2015).

Browning-Ferris Appeals NLRB's Landmark Joint Employer Decision to U.S. Court of Appeals

As expected, Browning-Ferris Industries has appealed to the United States Court of Appeals (in Washington, D.C.) from the National Labor Relations Board’s ground-breaking decision finding that BFI, as a joint employer of employees that BFI used from Leadpoint Business Services, unlawfully refused to bargain with Teamsters Local 350. BFI’s “Petition for Review” was filed in the District of Columbia Circuit.

Where Have All the Supervisors Gone? NLRB Further Narrows Definition Under Section 2(11)

In its continuing efforts to rewrite federal labor law to benefit unions, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has again narrowed the definition of “supervisor” under Section 2(11) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In G4S Government Solutions, Inc., 363 NLRB No. 113 (February 10, 2016), the Board concluded that nuclear power plant security lieutenants were not supervisors under the NLRA. Because supervisors are specifically excluded from the definition of “employee” under the Act, supervisors may not organize and have a duty of loyalty to their employers. In light of unions’ efforts to expand bargaining units, the NLRB has continued to find that individuals are not supervisors under the NLRA, even where they appear to meet the historical statutory criteria.

A Break From The Trend? NLRB Regional Director Finds Carroll College Exempt From Board Jurisdiction Under Pacific Lutheran

Union organizing directed at religious college and university faculties has gained momentum since the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) issued its decision in Pacific Lutheran University (“PLU”) in 2014. In PLU, the Board adopted a new, two-part standard for determining whether to assert jurisdiction over faculty at religiously-affiliated colleges and universities. Under the PLU standard, the Board will assert jurisdiction unless 1) the college or university holds itself out as providing a religious educational environment; and 2) the college or university holds the petitioned-for faculty out as performing a specific role in creating or maintaining the university’s religious educational environment.

Fourth Circuit Backs NLRB on Supervisor Status

Executive Summary: The Fourth Circuit recently upheld a finding of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that four employees were not supervisors, even though each employee oversaw the daily work of between 22 and 40 workers. The Fourth Circuit acknowledged that there was some evidence of supervisory authority but deferred to the NLRB's conclusions that the employees at issue were not supervisors. See Pac Tell Grp., Inc. v. NLRB, No. 15-1111, unpublished (Dec. 23, 2015).

NLRB to Consider Whether Students at Private Universities Are “Employees” Covered by the NLRA

Whether graduate student assistants at private universities are “employees” covered by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) might soon be taken up (again) by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

NLRB Joint-Employer Decision Moves Closer to Review by Circuit Court of Appeals

The NLRB’s landmark Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. decision, creating a new joint employer standard, has taken another step toward judicial review in a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

House Panel Advances Bill to Clarify Joint Employer Standard

Following a series of congressional hearings on the National Labor Relations Board's Browning-Ferris decision, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce voted on Wednesday to advance a bill that would effectively reverse the Board's action in that case. The Committee voted 21-15 along party lines to send the Protecting Local Business Opportunity Act (H.R. 3459) to the House floor. This legislation rejects the new joint employer standard the Board adopted in Browning-Ferris, and clarifies that two or more employers must have “actual, direct, and immediate” control over employees to be considered joint employers for liability purposes under the National Labor Relations Act.

NLRB's New Joint Employer Standard Faces First Legislative Challenge

Two days after returning from a scheduled congressional recess, senior Republican lawmakers introduced the first legislative challenge to the NLRB’s new joint employer standard, which was handed down last month in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., 362 NLRB No. 186 (Aug. 27, 2015).

NLRB's Landmark Joint Employer Ruling Has Big Implications (Podcast)

The National Labor Relations Board's expansive definition of "joint employer" in its Browning-Ferris decision could spark expanded unionization efforts. Longtime Boston labor law attorney Howard Bloom explains why and discusses other ramifications.

NLRB Changes the Standard for Joint Employer Status, Potentially Impacting the Operations of Many Employers

On August 27, 2015, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced the anticipated changes to its rules for holding companies liable as "joint employers." For employers who utilize temporary labor or who have outsourced work functions to third parties but retained some degree of oversight or control over those third parties, the decision creates new risks that they will be drawn into union bargaining relationships and labor disputes that had been the sole responsibility of their outside labor providers.

NLRB Hands Down Groundbreaking Joint Employer Ruling

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has broadened the definition of "joint employer" in a landmark ruling that could make it easier for unions to negotiate on behalf of workers at companies that rely on contractors and franchisees.

NLRB Adopts New Broader Joint-Employer Standard

Executive Summary: On August 27, 2015, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) issued its long-awaited decision in Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI) substantially changing and expanding the standard for finding a joint-employer relationship under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

Everything Old is New Again: NLRB’s Decision “Restates” Joint Employer Standard

In a landmark ruling yesterday, the National Labor Relations Board (the Board) dramatically revised its standard for determining when two businesses constitute “joint employers” for purposes of collective bargaining and liability under the National Labor Relations Act (the Act). This decision may have far-reaching implications for businesses nationwide.

Labor Board Sets New Standard for Determining Joint Employer Status

A sharply divided National Labor Relations Board has announced a new standard for determining joint employer status under the National Labor Relations Act. Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., 362 NLRB No. 186 (Aug. 27, 2015). One of the most significant decisions issued by the Board in recent years, it is likely to impact the labor relations and business relationships of many companies.

eLABORate: NLRB Announces Shift in Standard for Defining Joint-Employer Status

On August 27, 2015, in Browning Ferris Industries of California, Inc., the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) redefined the standard for determining joint-employer status, rejecting its 30-plus-year-old standard. In the ruling, it held Browning-Ferris Industries (“BFI”), a national recycling and sanitation company, was a joint employer of a crew of workers provided by a staffing agency. Thus, according to the Board, BFI now is responsible for bargaining obligations and potentially for unfair labor practices under the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”). The decision is a significant modification to existing Board precedent and should be evaluated for its potential impact in any workplace using contract labor and for its impact beyond the Act.

National Labor Relations Board Expands Joint Employer Status

In a 3-2 decision along party lines on Thursday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB, or Board) dealt a significant blow to fast food restaurants and other businesses that rely on the franchisee model as well as those organizations that utilize staffing agencies to supply their workers. In this highly anticipated decision, the NLRB overturned more than 30 years of established law by significantly expanding its joint employer standard. The Board Majority characterized its former longstanding joint employer analysis as “out of step with changing economic circumstances,” specifically noting the growth in contingent employment relationships, as well as that more than 2.87 million of the nation’s workers were employed through employment agencies in August 2014. If this decision survives on appeal, employers that currently rely upon staffing agencies will be forced to reevaluate their business models for obtaining labor, and franchisors must decide whether to assert more or less control over their franchisees.

NLRB Imposes New "Indirect Control" Joint Employer Standard in Browning-Ferris

On August 27, 2015, the last day of Harry Johnson, III's term as a Board member, the National Labor Relations Board issued its long-awaited decision in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc.1 The Board voted 3-2 to change its joint employer standard with Chairman Pearce, Member Hirozawa and Member McFerran representing the majority and Member Miscimarra and Member Johnson dissenting. The question before the Board was whether Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI) was a joint employer with Leadpoint, a staffing services company, in a union representation election covering Leadpoint's employees.2 The Board concluded that BFI and Leadpoint were joint employers under the representation petition filed by Teamsters Local 350. In finding that BFI was a joint employer with Leadpoint, the Board relied on BFI's indirect control and reserved contractual authority over essential terms and conditions of employment of the Leadpoint-supplied employees.

NLRB Starts Down The Slippery Slope With Controversial New Joint Employer Ruling

In a 3-2 decision, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced yesterday a broad new standard for determining whether two businesses are “joint employers” for purposes of collective bargaining.

NLRB Finds Joint Employer Status Can Exist Merely Based on Indirect or Potential Control

Overturning decades of precedent, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), on August 27, 2015, issued its long-awaited decision in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. d/b/a BFI Newby Island Recyclery, 362 NLRB No. 186 (August 27, 2015). The decision establishes a new standard for determining when two entities are a single “joint employer” over a group of workers.

The NLRB Refuses to Require its General Counsel to Explain the Joint Employer Case Against McDonald's

The National Labor Relations Board continues the string of controversial moves in its unfair labor practice cases against McDonald’s. In December 2014, the NLRB’s General Counsel filed thirteen complaints naming the franchisor, McDonald’s USA, as a joint employer for alleged unfair labor practices of various local franchisees. On August 14, 2015, the Board issued a decision affirming an Administrative Law Judge’s decision denying McDonald’s USA, LLC’s motion for a bill of particulars.1 A bill of particulars would have required the General Counsel to specify the particular facts and law that support its theory of joint employer liability.

Nursing Home RNs Constitute Supervisors Under the NLRA

Last month, the Sixth Circuit vacated the National Labor Relations Board’s determination ordering the operator of the Golden Living Center Nursing Home to bargain with a unit that was elected by registered nurses (RN). Through its decision in GGNSC Springfield, Corp. v. NLRB, ___F.3d ___, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 13472 (6th Cir. 2013), the Sixth Circuit determined that the RNs constituted supervisors under the National Labor Relations Act and were therefore not permitted to unionize, because they were authorized to issue employee memoranda to certified nursing assistants (CNA). The Sixth Circuit determined that the issuance of employee memoranda constituted an act of discipline and required the RNs to exercise independent judgment in making a determination as to whether to issue a memoranda or to give a verbal counseling.

The Supremes On Superivsors and Immigration (In 100 Words or Less)

While employers breathlessly await the health care ruling the Court weighs in on two issues affecting the workplace