California Company Appeals NLRB Decision on Joint-Employer Standard

Feb 4 2016 - Labor Relations - HRWatchdog

BoardHearing2Waste services company Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. (BFI) has filed a legal challenge to the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) expansive decision redefining the joint employer standard.

Last summer, as previously reported, the NLRB departed from the long-standing joint-employer test it previously used which focused on the extent a company exercised direct control over working conditions before the company could be found to be a joint employer. The NLRB switched to a broader test that allowed companies to be potentially liable for labor violations even if they only had indirect or unexercised control over employment conditions.

The NLRB decision was concerning to businesses that outsource, contract for labor, use temp workers, have franchise relationships or have other alternative work arrangements.

The underlying matter involved BFI and staffing agency Leadpoint Business Services (Leadpoint). BFI solely employs about 60 people for its waste facility and uses other temporary workers that are supplied by Leadpoint.

The issue was whether BFI and Leadpoint were joint-employers of the approximately 240 full-time, part-time and on-call temporary workers who work at the BFI facility and who the union petitioned to represent.

After the NLRB determined that BFI was a joint employer, the union prevailed at a representation election. Testing the NLRB’s decision, BFI did not recognize the union. The union then filed an unfair labor practices charge. In January, the NLRB found that BFI and Leadpoint violated the National Labor Relations Act, and BFI appealed.

The appeal was filed in a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.

Stay tuned to HR Watchdog for future updates on this matter.

Gail Cecchettini Whaley, CalChamber Employment Law Counsel/Content

CalChamber members can read more about National Labor Relations Board Powers in the HR Library. Not a member? Learn about the benefits of membership.

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