WASHINGTON, 2015-9-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today called on Congress to pass legislation introduced this week that would reverse a recent National Labor Relations Board ruling that significantly broadens the definition of a joint employer, saying the move would unfairly make companies that work with franchise locations or subcontractors responsible for actions they do not control.
“The board’s decision has significant negative implications for essentially any and every type of business-to-business relationship and will undermine job creation and small business growth across America,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “These harmful and unnecessary changes are out of sync with reality and are certain to create immense instability in business relationships.”
French’s comments came in a letter to House Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline, R-Minn., and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.
Kline and Alexander this week introduced the Protecting Local Business Opportunity Act. Under guidelines followed for more than 30 years, the NLRB held that a company had to have direct control over the actions of a franchisee or subcontractor’s employees in order to be considered a joint employer. Under its August ruling in a case involving the waste management company Browning Ferris Industries, the board said a company could be considered a joint employer even if it had only indirect or potential control.
The Kline-Alexander bill would require that the earlier standard of direct control be used.
“This long-held standard has enabled small businesses to flourish,” French said. “It has also ensured that larger companies … are protected from unnecessary involvement in labor negotiations or disputes in workplaces they do not control.”
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com