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Thursday, February 16, 2023

NLRB Proposed Joint Employer Rule Would Help Workers

Last year, the National Labor Relations Board proposed a new rule that would change how it decides who is an employer. Under the proposed rule announced September 6, 2022, two or more employers would be considered joint employers if they “share or codetermine those matters governing employees’ essential terms and conditions of employment,” such as wages, benefits and other compensation, work and scheduling, hiring and discharge, discipline, workplace health and safety, supervision, assignment, and work rules. The comment period ended in December, so we can expect the new rule to arrive any time now.

To put it simply, when two employers are connected in some way, they become joint employers and they both have responsibility for their workers. It's like when two people get married, they both have responsibilities for each other and their life together.

It's important because it means that workers have more protections and can hold both employers accountable for things like unionizing and unfair labor practices.

The new joint employer rule will have many benefits for employees. Here are some of the most significant ways that employees can benefit from this rule:

1. Greater protections against retaliation: When an employee is jointly employed by two employers, they are protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) against retaliation from either employer. This means that if an employee engages in protected concerted activity, such as organizing a union, discussing wages, or discussing working conditions, they cannot be fired or otherwise punished by either employer.

2. More bargaining power: When employees are jointly employed by two employers, they can bargain with both employers for better wages, benefits, and working conditions. This gives employees more bargaining power and ability to unionize than they would have if they were only employed by one employer. The possibility of NLRB sanctions will hopefully make smaller employers think twice about engaging in unfair labor practices.

3. More coverage: If one employer does not fall under the NLRB's jurisdiction because it has too little income or does not meet other jurisdictional standards, combining two employers will make it easier to bring the company under the umbrella of the National Labor Relations Act.

4. Better wages and working conditions: Ultimately, the ability to bargain collectively will help increase wages and improve overall working conditions for employees.

Overall, the National Labor Relations Board's joint employer rule benefits employees by providing greater protections, improved working conditions, and more bargaining power. By holding both employers accountable, employees are more likely to have a voice in the workplace and to receive fair treatment.

Needless to say, managment-side is howling about the possibility of this rule going into effect. They are crying gloom and doom and predict business armageddon. I suspect that this NLRB won't accede to their demands and that this rule or something quite similar will be the final rule that is implemented this year.   

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I appreciate your comments and general questions but this isn't the place to ask confidential legal questions. If you need an employee-side employment lawyer, try http://exchange.nela.org/findalawyer to locate one in your state.