For the first time in 60 years there are new DOL guidelines on joint employer status.  What is joint employer liability and how can the Watkins Firm help to protect your business interests as a San Diego employer or business professional while understanding and implementing new employment related laws and guidelines?

Generally speaking, “joint employers” are responsible (both jointly and separately) for employment law compliance regarding employees over whom they share control.  This is often alleged during wage and hour cases and other disputes under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Plaintiff’s attorneys frequently attempt to draw other businesses into an employment dispute in order to “deepen the pockets” for a potential jury award, settlement or recovery.  Are you at risk under California’s complex employment laws?  How can you assess risk of being identified as a joint employer?

Presently, two or more employers may be deemed to be joint employers if they are “not completely disassociated” with respect to the employment of an employee who performs work for more than one employer in a work week.

In April of this year (2019) the Department of Labor (DOL) proposed a new rule which would help to determine whether an individual or business could be established as a joint employer of persons who are actually employed by another employer.  This would be based upon a four-prong test which would assess whether potential joint employers have the actual power to:

  1. Hire or Fire the employee
  2. Supervise and control the employee’s work schedules or conditions of employment
  3. Determine the employee’s rate and method of payment; and
  4. Maintain associated employment records

There are additional factors which might be effective based upon the amount of significant control over the terms and conditions of the employee’s work or in situations where a third party acts directly or indirectly on behalf or in the interest of the employer with respect to the employee.

The proposed new DOL guidelines on joint employer status may affect your risk as a potential joint employer.  If you have questions about the risks of joint employer status or you have been named as a joint employer in a dispute we invite you to contact us or call 858-535-1511 for a free consultation.


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To set up a free, no-obligation consultation with our knowledgeable San Diego business lawyers, call us at 858-535-1511 or contact us online.