Global Public Policy
The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3441, the Save Local Business Act, on November 7 with strong bipartisan support. If passed into law the legislation would restore the previous and narrower definition of a “joint employer” and provide certainty to businesses that utilize contractors. ICSC joined 178 other trade groups on a letter sent to the U.S. House of Representatives in support of this bill. H.R. 3441 has since been referred to the U.S. Senate where the timeline for consideration is unclear.
In the August 2015 Browning Ferris Industries (BFI) decision, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) expanded the definition of a “joint employer” causing ICSC members concern about existing contractual relationships between shopping center owners, service providers and tenants .The broadening of what constitutes a “joint employer” means shopping center owners, service providers and tenants throughout the country that rely on contractors and subcontractors may be held liable for the actions of those with whom they contract or the venues in which they operate.
The BFI decision is currently being challenged in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals which, if overturned, would restore the previous definition. Additionally, with the confirmation of William Emanuel to the NLRB’s fifth seat there is reason to believe the board could reverse the BFI decision by ruling in favor of the previous definition in a future case. However, both of these scenarios merely provide a temporary solution.
ICSC will continue to encourage the U.S. Senate to consider and pass the Save Local Business Act to permanently clarify the joint employer standard.