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Employment Blog

Joint Employer Status

Authored by Ruder Ware Attorneys
Posted on February 15, 2016
Filed under Employment

On February 3, 2016, in Crew One Productions, Inc. v. NLRB, the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [which issues opinions that impact businesses in Alabama, Florida and Georgia] concluded that the NLRB misapplied the law concerning whether two separate employers may be treated as a single, joint employer for union organizing purposes.   For this reason, the decision is viewed by members of the business community as a welcome sign that the NLRB’s new, expansive definition of joint employment may not be universally endorsed within the federal court system. 

In this case, the NLRB concluded that Crew One’s independent contractors, dispatched to work as stagehands in connection with concerts, plays, sporting events and graduation ceremonies, were employees for purposes of the National Labor Relations Act.   This determination gave the NLRB jurisdiction over the stagehands, and the NLRB ordered a representation election after it received a representation election petition from a stage employees union.  The union won the representation election and the NLRB ordered Crew One to bargain with the union—however, it refused, precipitating an unfair labor practice charge and eventually an appeal to the federal court.  Without getting too far into the weeds, the Court concluded that the NLRB screwed up the analysis in connection with factors such as: (1) the degree of control Crew One exercised over the stagehands [very little]; (2) failure to withhold taxes; and (3) the significance of written independent contractor agreements.