Labor Law -- 2018

DirecTV v. Hall   (U.S. Supreme Court)

Joint employer liability under FLSA

On July 6, 2017, the NAM, along with the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, the HR Policy Association, The National Retail Federation, and The Retail Litigation Center, filed a brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review a case addressing standards applicable to joint employment liability under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

At issue in this case is the Fourth Circuit’s new rule that radically alters the law governing FLSA joint employer claims and the scope of the FLSA. This rule treats any business as an FLSA joint-employer if it is “not completely disassociated” from a worker’s direct employer with respect to the terms of the worker’s employment. Furthermore, the test applies even if a business has no direct relationship with the employee, and if the business has only a limited relationship, which standing alone would not itself support a finding of employer status. The Fourth Circuit’s test conflicts with those used by eight courts of appeals and threatens a flood of nationwide collective action lawsuits.

The NAM urged the U.S. Supreme Court to hear this case to bring uniformity to joint employment liability standards and avoid the potential imposition of extensive unanticipated liability on the many employers impacted by this new rule. Additionally, the brief argues that the Fourth Circuit’s decision promises to penalize and deter economically sensible business arrangements.

On December 14, 2017, the NLRB overturned the Browning-Ferris case, which was the ruling that broadened the definition of a joint employer.

The petition for certiorari was denied by the Supreme Court on January 8, 2018.

Related Documents:
NAM amicus brief  (July 6, 2017)


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