The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) General Counsel’s July 31 announcement that he will name McDonald’s U.S.A. LLC as a joint employer in dozens of unfair labor practice cases filed on behalf of employees of McDonald’s franchisees has certainly caused a stir within the hospitality industry. It also has significant implications for the trucking industry. In a sweeping departure from existing law, the NLRB General Counsel is seeking to fundamentally alter the contours of joint employer liability that has existed for decades by going after McDonald’s U.S.A. Certainly, if this position is sustained by the NLRB, motor carriers will be forced to examine their operations from top to bottom.
Motor carriers that operate with independent contractor owner-operators typically complement their operations through a network of agents. These agents have varying responsibilities depending on the particular arrangement, including business development, independent contractor recruiting, on-boarding, dispatching, etc. These contractual relationships are often exclusive in nature between the agent and the underlying motor carrier.
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