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NLRB Rules Companies Relying on Temporary Staffing Agencies Could be “Joint-Employers”

On August 27, 2015, the National Labor Relations Board issued a highly anticipated decision regarding the rights of unions to represent the employees of temporary staffing agencies.  In the case involving Brown-Ferris Industries (BFI), the union representing BFI employees sought to represent employees of Leadpoint Business Services, which provided temporary employees to BFI.  Under an agreement between the companies, Leadpoint is declared to be the “sole employer” of employees sent to work at the BFI site.  The NLRB’s Regional Director rejected the union’s petition, finding BFI was not an employer of Leadpoint employees.  However, in a 3-2 decision split along party lines, the Board reversed the Regional Director’s decision.  The Board wrote “We find BFI’s role in sharing and codetermining the terms and conditions of employment establishes that it is a joint employer with Leadpoint.”  Under the Board’s decision, a company which hires temporary staffing agencies to staff its facilities may be considered a joint employer of the workers at its facility even if it does not actively supervise such workers.  You can read the NLRB’s decision here.  The present decision may indicate the Board’s position on the employment status of employees of franchisees, a position which the Board should announce in the near future in a case involving fast food giant McDonalds.

For more information on this decision and other NLRB topics, contact our labor and employment section and register for Bugbee & Conkle’s October 1, 2015 Annual Labor and Employment Seminar.

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