This New Year, many employers have resolved to examine their employment relationships to determine if any joint employment relationships are lurking. On January 20, 2016, the United States Department of Labor issued an administrator’s interpretation on joint employment and confirmed that the DOL has resolved to continue its program of pursuing issues related to joint employment.
As explained in the DOL’s blog post, the DOL’s guidance on joint employment is consistent with its commitment to “engage with and educate employers so they know about their responsibilities and can operate in compliance with the laws that we are tasked to uphold.” In this vein, the administrator’s interpretation:
(a) addresses the question of “who is an employer;”
(b) identifies common scenarios in which two or more employers jointly employ an employee and, therefore, are jointly liable for compliance; and
(c) compiles relevant statutory provisions, regulations, and case law to provide comprehensive guidance on joint employment under the FLSA.
The Department of Labor is just one of many federal agencies that have made joint employment issues a primary consideration. Employers should examine their relationships, policies, and contracts, to determine if there may be issues related to joint employment, particularly in light of the DOL’s new guidance.