By Sahid Fawaz
The Trump Administration continues to make life difficult for workers.
“Bringing claims of harassment or other malfeasance against an employer just got a little harder because of a change in federal labor rules. The National Labor Relations Board last week reversed a two-year-old decision that made companies and franchisers jointly responsible for workers managed through temporary agencies and franchises.
There are about 8 million people in America who work for a franchise, according to the US Census Bureau. The system, where a large brand licenses out its name and other aspects of a business, exists in all sectors of the economy, but the best-known are food service places such as McDonald’s, Jimmy John’s and Dunkin’ Donuts. Another 4.8 million workers are employed through temp or staffing agencies, filling jobs in offices, factories, warehouse and other facilities.
In 2015, the NLRB decided that, when an organization hires workers through a staffing agency or franchisee, both companies can be considered ‘joint employers.’ Known as the Browning-Ferris standard, this meant that companies that used temp or other contract workers could find themselves with the obligations of a traditional employer when it came to handling worker complaints or negotiating with a union.
Since that decision, several states passed laws to roll back the rule, and business leaders have pressed Congress for a law that would undo it. But for labor activists, who argue that large corporations have been setting the terms of employment all along, this was a welcome move.
‘Consider a common employment arrangement in which a staffing agency hires a worker and assigns her to work at another firm. The staffing agency determines some of the worker’s terms of employment (such as her hiring and wages), but the other firm directs her daily tasks and sets her schedule and hours,’ Marni von Wilpert, of the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, explained in a blog post.
That decision was a positive for workers. Last year, McDonald’s (MCD) became the first corporation to settle a lawsuit brought by workers at a franchisee, paying $3.75 million to about 800 employees who said they were cheated of pay while working at McDonald’s franchises.
In its decision on Thursday, the NLRB reversed itself, saying that a company couldn’t be considered a joint employer if it only had indirect control over someone’s working conditions, or if it has direct control but hasn’t used it.”
For the rest of the story, check out the article at CBS News here.