Labor Board Decision Affects Temporary Worker Status

By a vote of 3-2, the National Labor Relations Board revised how it will decide joint-employer status, a move that will affect nearly three million temporary workers across the nation. The Board determined that the prior standard fell short of keeping up with workplace and financial needs, and the new standard represents the existing market more accurately.

The new definition for joint-employers includes the following:

1.    Both parties meet the criteria for employers according to common law, and /or

2.    Both parties share decision-making regarding the employee’s conditions of employment.

In this case, the Board ruled that Browning-Ferris Industries of California and Leadpoint, a temporary agency that supplied workers to BFI, jointly employed workers. The Board considered the fact that BFI exercised control over employment conditions. Leadpoint spelled out terms and conditions for hiring temporary workers, while BFI reserved the right to change them.

What Does This Case Mean for Workers?

The Board’s decision in this case strengthens employee rights by closing loopholes that allowed companies to skirt paying fair wages and related taxes, offering benefits and even maintaining workplace safety. Companies have previously used temporary agencies as middlemen to avoid federal laws regarding the fair treatment of workers.

Dissenting Board Members included Harry I. Johnson and Philip A. Miscimarra, while Board Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce, Lauren McFerran and Kent Y. Hirozawa voted with the majority.

As a temporary worker, you have rights! If you need assistance with a harassment, discrimination or wage and hour case from a qualified and experienced New York employment law firm, call Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP today at 1 (212) 688-5640, or email us at

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