NLRB Joint Employer Whiplash

by FordHarrison


Executive Summary: The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) has vacated its decision in Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors, Ltd., (“Hy-Brand”), thereby reinstating the joint employer standard created by the Obama Board in the Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. (“BFI”) decision. The Board’s reversal was due to an apparent conflict of interest created by Board Member William Emanuel’s participation in the Hy-Brand decision.


On August 27, 2015, the Board issued its decision in BFI. In that decision, the Board set forth a new standard to determine whether a joint-employment relationship existed. Under that standard, a joint-employer relationship will be found if the alleged joint-employers possess, exercise or simply retain the right, directly or indirectly, to control essential terms and conditions of employment, even if that control is not exercised.


In Hy-Brand, the Board, by a 3-2 vote on December 14, 2017, reversed its decision in BFI and restored the joint-employment standard used by the Board for determining joint-employment for decades prior to BFI. Under the Hy-Brand standard, an entity is a joint employer only where it has actually exerciseddirect and immediate” control over the essential terms and conditions of employment of the other entity’s employees, such as hiring, discipline, termination, suspension and direction. FordHarrison’s legal alert on this decision is available here.

Decision to Vacate

The charging parties in Hy-Brand filed a motion for “reconsideration, recusal, and to strike,” asking the Board to reconsider its decision and order in Hy-Brand and seeking the recusal of Member Emanuel on the basis that he should not have participated in the Hy-Brand decision due to a conflict of interest. Specifically, they argued Emanuel should have recused himself from the decision in Hy-Brand to overrule BFI because, prior to his appointment to the NLRB, he was a shareholder in a law firm that represented a party in BFI. On February 26, 2018, a three-member panel of the Board (which did not include Emanuel) granted the charging parties’ motion for reconsideration and vacated its decision in Hy-Brand. The decision is available at 365 NLRB No. 156.

Effect on Employers

The Board has effectively reinstated the BFI standard by vacating Hy-Brand. However, this reinstatement is likely temporary. There is little doubt that the Board will revisit (and overrule) BFI in the near future. Immediately following the Hy-Brand decision, the term of Chairman Miscimarra expired, reducing the Board to four members with a 2-2 partisan split. Trump nominee John Ring awaits a confirmation vote in the Senate. In the meantime, NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb has ordered all Regional Directors to send any joint employer cases that address the issues in BFI to the Division of Advice.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© FordHarrison | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


FordHarrison on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.