Updates on regulations from the National Labor Relations Board, OSHA, EPA, etc. were an important part of the recent Conference. Among especially troubling
Launched in April 2013 as a result of an increase in the use of temporary workers and high injury rates among temps, this change deemed the employer and the agency are “joint employers,” so BOTH can be cited for health and safety violations.
A recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling expanded the application to hold employers responsible for labor violations committed by their contractors. Although the ruling deals specifically with Browning-Ferris, a waste management firm, who contracted with another firm to staff a recycling facility, labor experts warn the impact can be far reaching for businesses.
Any company that contracts with another to perform services (e.g. cleaning and janitorial service providers, caterers, a hospital that contracts with a firm to run on-premise laundry, etc.) may feel the impact. Fisher & Phillips, labor law attorneys, indicate that regardless of whether the worker is on your payroll, if the injury occurs while performing work for your company, the incident must be reported on your OSHA 300 log and you must make sure the injury is reported to the agency.
This decision also expands joint employer liability under the National Labor Relations Act so employers may have joint-bargaining obligations. A recent presentation including “How to Avoid a Joint Employer Classification” is available by calling Universal Unilink at 888 830-7872.
Sweeping changes regarding contract or exempt workers from the Department of Labor will impact all business, but small companies are expected to be hard hit. In addition to tightening definitions for exempt employees, current minimum salary requirement would move from $23,660 annually to $47,892. The DOL’s position is that most workers are “employees.”
New protected categories as defined by the EEOC include sexual orientation and gender identification while the NLRB has ruled that a host of previously standard “business rules” are illegal. For example, handbook policies prohibiting posting information that is disrespectful or negative about the company, employees, customers, etc. have been deemed illegal as has sharing wages or information regarding investigations, etc.
Joe Shelton’s presentation on Employment Law . . . What Keeps YOU Up at Night and What Should? is posted in the Members’ section of the website. Joe, a labor law attorney with Fisher & Phillips, can be reached at jshelton(at)laborlawyers.com.
“Size Doesn’t Matter,” a conference workshop for laundries, by Dana Horne, authorized OSHA trainer and consultant with Performance Matters, is posted in the Members section of the website. Dana points out that the agency targets employers of 20 or more and that even a 2 person firm will be investigated if a disgruntled employee complains. Her presentation includes photos of violations she’s found in evaluating ILs.
Ed Foulke, partner in labor law firm Fisher & Phillips and former head of OSHA, also expressed concern about small laundries. Urging Members to be proactive in meeting basic safety requirement , Ed points out that simply having a safety manual isn’t enough. He gave two examples of small firms with less than 50 workers receiving fines in excess of one million dollars. Ed’s list of top 20 top cited laundry violations is available by calling 888 830-7872.