Legislation Would Codify into Law the Traditional “Joint Employer” Employment Liability Standard
Washington D.C. – Today, the National Grocers Association (NGA), the trade association representing the independent grocery industry, announced its support for the Save Local Business Act. Introduced by Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) and Rep. James Comer (R-KY), the legislation would codify into law the traditional joint employer standard, which conditions employment liability on the clear and predictable standard of “direct, actual, and immediate control over workers’ terms and conditions of employment.”
Last year, the National Labor Relations Board announced proposed regulation on the joint employer standard that would expand the current standard of what constitutes a “joint employer,” putting independent community grocers at risk of legal uncertainty and increased litigation.
“This new definition of a “joint employer” is a textbook definition of government supported labor overreach, putting small businesses like independent grocers in potential scenarios where they are held liable for contractors that do business in their stores, like DSD shelf-stockers or cleaning service workers.” said Chris Jones, SVP of government relations and counsel. “We also fear this rule could complicate the legal relationship that retailers enjoy with wholesalers, cooperatives, and marketing alliances. NGA supports the Save Local Business Act which would institute a stable joint employer standard going forward.”
The Save Local Business Act amends the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act to clarify that two or more employers must have “actual, direct, and immediate” control over employees to be considered joint employers. This legislation:
- Rolls back a convoluted joint employer scheme that threatens vastly expands an employment liability framework that could destabilize common business relationships for grocers, including vendors and wholesaler partnerships.
- Restores a commonsense definition of employer to provide certainty and stability for workers and employers
- Protects workers and local employers from future overreach by unelected bureaucrats and activist judges.
NGA filed comments on the NLRB’s proposed expansion of the joint employer standard in December and is expecting a final determination in August.