On October 28, 2015, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce met to mark up the Protecting Local Business Opportunity Act (H.R. 3459)—a bill designed to curtail the National Labor Relations Board’s recent expansion of “joint employer” under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).
As previously discussed, the NLRB’s Browning Ferris Industries decision dramatically expanded the definition of “joint employer”. Specifically, the Board held that entities do not have to exercise “direct and immediate control” over the terms and conditions of employment to be considered “joint employers”, opening the door for possible suits against franchisors and contractors. The new supposed ‘standard’ adds uncertainty and raises more questions than it answers for employers and employees alike.
In an attempt to restore the traditional definition of “joint employer” under Federal labor laws, the House bill limits the term to those entities that have “actual, direct, and immediate control” over an employee. The bill advanced out of committee by a 21-15, with all Republicans voting in favor and all Democrats voting against the bill.