Expect Heightened Scrutiny Of Worker Relationships For Possible “Joint Employment”

The scenarios in which a worker, even though not technically a company employee, is found to be a company employee under a theory of “joint employment” for purposes of various laws continues to increase.  Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division issued an Administrator’s Interpretation establishing new standards for determining joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.

The interpretation explains that the concept of joint employment under these acts should be broadened beyond the traditional common-law definition of employment.  The interpretation provides factors to consider in determining whether a particular relationship should be considered “joint employment” that purport to focus more on the economic realities of the relationship among the involved entities and the worker.  Expect any arrangements in the field in which your company may rely on workers hired and paid by others to receive heightened scrutiny going forward.

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