NLRB Vacates Recent Joint Employer Decision

NLRB Vacates Recent Joint Employer Decision

On February 26, 2018, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rescinded its recent 3-2 decision in Hy-Brand Indus. Contractors, Ltd., 365 NLRB No. 156 (2017), which had restored the traditional standard for determining when multiple entities are joint employers under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The Board’s action stemmed from a determination by the NLRB’s Designated Agency Ethics Official that one of the Board Members who voted in favor of the Hy-Brand decision should not have participated in that decision. The vacatur of the Hy-Brand decision is a setback for the business community. As we previously reported, the Hy-Brand decision overruled the NLRB’s controversial joint employer decision in Browning-Ferris Indus. of Cal., Inc. d/b/a BFI Newby Island Recyclery, 362 NLRB No. 186 (2015) and restored the decades-old standard that required an entity to actually exercise direct and immediate control over another entity’s essential employment conditions and terms to be a joint employer. In Browning-Ferris, the Board decided that two or more entities could be jointly liable under the NLRA if one of the entities merely reserves the right to indirectly control essential employment conditions and terms of another entity. Once again, this funky joint employer standard as set forth in Browning-Ferris...

President Trump Nominates Fifth Board Member to Round Out NLRB

President Trump Nominates Fifth Board Member to Round Out NLRB

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump nominated management-side labor attorney, John F. Ring, to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). This is a significant nomination because, if Mr. Ring receives Senate approval, the Board will once again be poised to revisit pro-union actions that the NLRB took under the prior administration. This is good news for the business community. Last month, a fully-constituted five member Board took several actions that began a much anticipated releveling of the playing field between Big Labor and Corporate America in the aftermath of profound pro-union actions. Last month’s actions included decisions restoring traditional standards for deciding what constitutes an “appropriate collective bargaining unit” and when two or more entities are “joint employers.” These changes were welcomed by the business community because they provide a more balanced approach to deciding these issues. Shortly after the NLRB’s actions last month, the term of then-Chairman Philip A. Miscimarra expired, leaving one seat at the Board open and the NLRB presumably split two-to-two on a host of additional controversial pro-union actions taken by the Board under the prior administration. (Those actions include the propriety of the NLRB’s “quickie” election rule and a decision giving employees a presumptive right to use their employers’...

NLRB Gives Employers Several Reasons to Be Jolly This Holiday Season

NLRB Gives Employers Several Reasons to Be Jolly This Holiday Season

December 2017 has been one for the labor law community to remember. We have seen a wintry flurry of actions by the newly-constituted National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which has begun a much anticipated releveling of the playing field between Big Labor and Corporate America in the aftermath of profound pro-union actions under the prior administration. On the heels of an instructive and potentially predictive memorandum issued by the Board’s new General Counsel, the NLRB raised questions about the 2014 “quickie” election rule and issued a number of decisions setting forth more neutral standards for analyzing significant legal issues under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), including: an administrative law judge’s ability to accept a charged party’s proposed settlement terms; when multiple employers should be deemed “joint employers” under the NLRA; an employer’s ability to take unilateral action consistent with its past practices; the legality of workplace rules that do not expressly prohibit concerted activities protected by the NLRA; and appropriate collective bargaining units. New NLRB General Counsel’s First Memorandum On December 1, 2017, the NLRB’s new General Counsel, Peter B. Robb, issued a memorandum leaving little doubt that he has a very different view of the NLRA than his predecessor on several key...

Senate Approves Trump’s Pick for NLRB General Counsel

Senate Approves Trump’s Pick for NLRB General Counsel

This week, the United States Senate approved President Donald Trump’s nomination of Peter B. Robb to be the next General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board. The move is a key step toward releveling the playing field between Big Labor and Corporate America in the aftermath of profound pro-union actions by the prior administration, including its NLRB General Counsel. The job of General Counsel is a significant one at the Board. The General Counsel is responsible for investigating and prosecuting unfair labor practice cases and supervising the regional offices in their processing of cases. As a result, the General Counsel has control over the types of cases and legal theories that make their way to the NLRB for decisions. The prior General Counsel, Richard F. Griffin, Jr., interpreted the National Labor Relations Act in ways that subjected employers to labor law liabilities where none historically existed. This included arguing that individuals better classified as college students and independent contractors were statutory employees, neutral workplace policies were unlawful, and distinct entities in a business relationships were joint employers. Griffin’s term expired last month and Jennifer A. Abruzzo, the NLRB’s Deputy General Counsel, has been serving as the Acting General Counsel since that time....

NLRB Regional Director Continues Board’s Expansion in Higher Ed

NLRB Regional Director Continues Board’s Expansion in Higher Ed

A National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional director has decided that student resident advisors (“RAs”) are statutory employees under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In George Washington Univ., the regional director ordered that an election take place May 3rd, so that the student RAs can decide whether to unionize through a secret ballot process. The decision is the latest in a string that expands the NLRA’s reach at colleges and universities, and comes on the heels of a memorandum authored by the Board’s general counsel that broadly interprets those decisions. Facts George Washington University requires all undergraduate students to live in residence halls until their senior year as part of the “student experience.” The university staffs its residence halls with student RAs whose role is to assist other students living in the residence halls and build relationships with and among them. The student RAs have wide discretion in performing their role, including the activities they choose to build relationships. Very few student RAs serve in the role for more than a year. There are, of course, parameters around being a student RA. They must be full-time undergraduate students who have completed at least one year of studies and are in...

USDOL New Persuader Rule Permanently Enjoined 0

USDOL New Persuader Rule Permanently Enjoined

We are pleased to report that a federal court in Nat’l Fed’n of Indep. Bus. v. Perez issued a nationwide injunction permanently enjoining the United States Department of Labor’s new persuader rule last week. The decision is a major victory for the business community because the new rule placed employers’ abilities to freely seek labor counsel in jeopardy by expanding their obligations to publicly disclose arrangements into which they entered with the labor consultants, including their attorneys.

Legal Issues to Consider as Intern Season Approaches 0

Legal Issues to Consider as Intern Season Approaches

With summer around the corner, it is a good time for a refresher on legal implications when hiring interns. Specifically, when must interns be paid and what other legal protections do interns have? Wage and Hour Issues – As has been widely publicized in recent years, a number of companies who utilize unpaid interns have found themselves the object of lawsuits. It is thus important for companies to make an informed decision on the compensation issue before the hiring process begins.

Fifth Circuit Upholds Arbitration Agreement Prohibiting Class/Collective Actions and Cautions NLRB to Reconsider Board Policy 0

Fifth Circuit Upholds Arbitration Agreement Prohibiting Class/Collective Actions and Cautions NLRB to Reconsider Board Policy

Last week, in Murphy Oil USA, Inc. v. NLRB, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld an arbitration agreement requiring employees to arbitrate claims on an individual basis, thereby reaffirming its holding in D.R. Horton, Inc. v. NLRB, despite the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) aggressive attempt to find arbitration agreements unlawful. The case is noteworthy because the court rebuffed the Board’s effort to circumvent D.R. Horton and cautioned the NLRB “to strike a more respectful balance between its views and those of circuit courts” that review them. One wonders whether the NLRB will change its current stance against arbitration agreements that prohibit class/collective actions. Regardless, the Fifth Circuit’s decision helps to settle the current state of the law at the circuit court level that arbitration agreements and class/collective action waivers are lawful under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).

NLRB Expands Reach by Altering Joint-Employer Standard 0

NLRB Expands Reach by Altering Joint-Employer Standard

Recently, in Browning-Ferris Indus. of Cal., the National Labor Relations Board continued to expand its reach and once again altered decades old law in favor of labor unions, this time by making it easier for unions to hold multiple businesses responsible for bargaining with a single group of workers over employment conditions and terms. The decision has potentially far-reaching implications for companies that enter into staffing arrangements with third parties, including franchisors, who now may have legal obligations to bargain with unions where they never before did.

NLRB Calls a Timeout in Northwestern Football Players Case 0

NLRB Calls a Timeout in Northwestern Football Players Case

Last week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued its long-awaited decision in Northwestern University, a case involving an attempt by scholarship football players to unionize under the National Labor Relations Act. About a year-and-a-half ago, in response to the university’s attempt to dismiss a union election petition filed on behalf of the players, a regional director decided that the students were statutory employees who could unionize. The university challenged the regional director’s decision, which set the stage for the Board’s decision.