By Iain Murray – Re-Blogged From The Competitive Enterprise Institute
Yesterday, the Department of Labor unexpectedly issued a new rule (which it called an interpretation) that will upend thousands of businesses’ established practices. It did so with no notice, and no comment by affected businesses is either sought or allowed. Effectively, the administration is now ruling by decree.
The “administrator’s interpretation” is about an obscure categorization of employment called “joint employer.” Such a situation arises when two or more employers are jointly responsible and liable for a worker’s employment conditions. Over the past 40 years or so, new business practices have arisen whereby firms contract out or franchise parts of their business. The Department of Labor (and the National Labor Relations Board) have allowed this, treating the businesses as separate and the employees as having one employer. That is all changing very quickly.