The recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling stating that a recycling company, Browning-Ferris Industries, was a joint employer of the workers it used from a staffing agency has serious ramifications. Perhaps even more troubling, it demonstrates bold overreach by the NLRB in regards to the boundaries between employees and employers. Blurring the lines within industries that utilize franchisees and the employees they hire in an attempt to spread out the responsibility in the event that an employee is hurt or violates a regulation only lowers the strength of the employer-employee relationship. It also adding a significant measure of uncertainty to the entire employer-employee relationship.
The Browning-Ferris decision effectively erodes the relationship that exists between an employee and employer. This is particularly true when it comes to franchisors and their franchisees. It introduces a great deal of uncertainty concerning exactly who is the employer, as well as making it difficult for business owners such as franchisees to effectively operate their businesses. Given that franchisors and their resultant franchisees form the very backbone of America, a significant number of industries — as well as businesses within those industries — will be adversely affected by this decision. Just a few of the industries affected include the lodging, restaurant and manufacturing sectors.
Business groups are now calling for Congress to include language that would make it impossible for the NLRB to implement the Browning-Ferris decision. These riders are necessary to ensure that the smooth flow and ebb of employee-employer relations can continue unabated and with no further complications. Congress needs to include such language within the crucial omnibus spending bill that must be passed by December 11 in order to forestall a government shutdown. These riders will provide the necessary cohesiveness that allows both businesses such as franchisors and franchisees and their employees to complete business in a successful way.