The Department of Labor Plans on Redefining "Joint Employer"


Posted by: Chris

The Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced plans to implement a new rule that would redefine the term “joint employer.” The proposed changes could impact which companies are held liable for wage and hour violations. Here’s what workers in Oklahoma need to know:

What is A Joint Employer?

Joint employment occurs when two or more businesses share control and supervision of an employee. The businesses involved in a joint employment arrangement are known as joint employers. 

The Proposed Definition of “Joint Employer”

The DOL adopted a broad definition of joint employer under the Obama administration, but now, the agency would like to drastically narrow it. 

The proposed change states that four factors must be considered when determining whether or not a business is a joint employer. These four factors include:

  • The company’s ability to hire or fire the employee
  • The company’s ability to control the employee’s work schedule
  • The company’s role in setting the employee’s pay
  • Whether or not the company keeps the employee’s employment records

The DOL believes that the proposed change will eliminate uncertainty and make it easier to determine if a company is truly a joint employer.

How the Change Could Affect Workers

Redefining joint employment could affect who is held liable in labor violation disputes. For example, if a worker who is jointly employed by two companies is illegally denied overtime pay, both companies could potentially be held liable for this violation. As a result, the proposed change to narrow the definition of joint employer could reduce the number of parties that could be potentially held liable for workers’ labor violations.

For example, let’s say you work at a fast food franchise and are not being paid minimum wage. Under the old joint employer definition, the franchise owner and corporate restaurant chain are considered joint employers, so both companies could be liable for your unpaid wages. But, the corporate restaurant chain would not be considered a joint employer under the new definition, which means the franchise owner would be solely liable. 

This proposed change will not affect your rights to minimum wage or overtime pay, but it could affect who is held liable when these rights are violated. 

Have your rights to minimum wage or overtime pay been violated? If so, seek legal representation from the experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Our attorneys will seek justice against your employer and aggressively fight for the compensation you deserve for this violation. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.