Jennifer (JJ) Rosenbaum (@RosenbaumJJ) is a Robina Foundation Visiting Human Rights Fellow at the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School.
From the on-demand economy to construction sites and fields, joint employer liability continues to be fundamental to combating growing inequality and substandard conditions for workers.
The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) started 2016 with two strong commitments on this issue – new administrative guidance and new data collection efforts. The International Labor Organization (ILO) also takes up these issues in June as part of its general discussion on decent work in global supply chains. And trade unions and workers’ centers continue their organizing and campaigns providing critical information, analysis, and momentum.
New Joint Employer Administrative Interpretation
On January 20, 2016, the USDOL issued a new Administrative Interpretation (AI) from Wage and Hour Administrator David Weil reminding business entities that they may be jointly liable for minimum wage and overtime obligations towards workers even where they are not the “employer” for purposes of payroll or other common law definitions. The AI follows six months after USDOL’s guidance on independent contractor misclassification and the National Labor Relations Board’s decision in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, which expanded the NLRB’s joint employer standard.