Joint Employer Bill Gets Senate Panel Hearing

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) called the National Labor Relations Board's recent decision to redefine and expand joint employer liability under the National Labor Relations Act the biggest attack on small business opportunity that he’s seen in a long, long time.

Sen. Alexander made the remarks during his opening statement at a Senate panel hearing on the Protecting Local Business Opportunity Act. Sen. Alexander recently introduced the measure to revert the joint employer test in place prior to the NLRB’s August 3-2 decision.  

Under the prior standard, a company could only be considered a “joint employer” if it possessed and exercised authority to dictate another employer’s actions with respect to its employees. The NLRB’s ruling held that simply having authority to dictate employee actions – even if that authority is not exercised – can lead to joint employer liability.

Sen. Alexander said the ruling threatens to steal the American dream from the nation’s small businesses.

Sen. Alexander said his bill, which currently has 45 co-sponsors, would restore a “common sense standard” that joint employers must exercise actual, direct and immediate control over essential terms and conditions of employment.

Education and the Workforce Committee, Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) has introduced identical legislation (H.R. 3549) in the House. 


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