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BGD Attorney Discusses Business Impact of the New NLRB Joint-Employer Standards


BGD’s Andrew Gruber shared his analysis of new joint-employer standards and their impact on businesses in his recent Indiana Lawyer column.

In his column, Gruber highlights the tension between the business community and the National Labor Relations Board that is quickly intensifying as the NLRB expanded their definition of “joint-employer” for franchise businesses. Ironically, the week following Burger King’s new CEO’s announcement of the reduction of corporate-owned locations, the NLRB ruled McDonalds USA to be a “joint employer” with franchisees. Gruber surveys the decision’s impact on future decisions, wages, potential franchisee unionization, staffing companies and subcontractors.

Effects of the NLRB Ruling

Gruber mentions the conflict that has been escalating between McDonald’s USA and its employees. There has been a consistent effort in the “Fight for $15” initiative to raise the wages at their restaurants including worker walkouts, protests and rallies. In addition, there are 43 allegations before the NLRB which argue that McDonald’s USA is a “joint-employer” and shares in the liability for unfair labor practices of franchisees. The decision to pursue this stance on McDonald’s was spearheaded by the NLRB’s leader in prosecuting labor offenders, Richard Griffin Jr. His reasoning was not made public nor is the decision legally binding.

Alongside of the McDonald’s USA decision, the board is also pursuing an even broader definition of “joint-employer” in the case Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. et al. v. Sanitary Truck Drivers and Helpers Local 350, International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The NLRB is currently accepting amicus briefs on the case. Gruber states that Griffin is among the pro-labor majority on the board so it is possible that his opinion could be adopted into a new policy that “lumps” many types of labor contracting into “joint-employers.”

In conclusion, Andrew Gruber advises business to address the issue now and to review their labor structure and subcontracts carefully.

Read “NLRB Announcement Shakes Up Joint-employer Standard” in its entirety on the Indiana Lawyer website.

To learn more about Andrew Gruber and his practice, please visit his profile.


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