Italian Labor Law E-Journal
It. Lab. L. E-Journal
The joint-employer doctrine in the United States is as fissured as the economy itself. As this paper’s brief survey of the different joint-employer standards used in the U.S. shows, the diverse set of work laws and governing authorities involved in workplace disputes have led to an unpredictable and confusing set of joint-employer standards. Although most of these standards share similarities, there are numerous differences based on the statute involved, whether the dispute is brought under federal or state law, which federal court is hearing the case, and which political party controls a relevant agency. Moreover, thanks in large part to a labor law action against McDonald’s, the joint-employer doctrine has become a politically charged issue, leading several federal agencies recently to change their approach to the question. As a result, businesses and workers cannot be certain that the relevant joint employer standard that exists today will be the same one that applies later. In short, joint employment in the U.S. consists of a complex set of standards that lack clarity and predictability, imposing costs on businesses and workers alike.