Do You Have Joint Employers?
As many business models and employment arrangements become more flexible to suit both the needs of owners and employees, chances may increase of wage or overtime violations. Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a memorandum specifically addressing “joint employment” arrangements in the wage and hour context in an attempt to increase protections for employees in this type of situation.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets out many different requirements for employers including a minimum hourly wage ($8.05 in Florida) and time-and-a-half overtime rate for any hours worked over 40 per week. However, many employers either inadvertently or intentionally use joint employment to avoid paying appropriate overtime wages to certain employees. In response, the DOL is now broadening the definition of “joint employment” for purposes of FLSA and employees should be aware of possible wage violations in this type of situation.
What Is Joint Employment?
Joint employment occurs when two businesses that have a certain relationship employ the same individual. In this scenario, the DOL requires that the two employers total an employee’s hours for both businesses and treat them as one employment.
The following is an example of how failing to follow these guidelines can result in an overtime violation:
- Ann is a nurse and works 25 hours per week at an assisted living facility.
- Ann also works 25 hours per week at another facility that is a separate entity from the first one, but owned by the same company.
- Each nursing home pays her separately for her work and she does not receive any overtime because she does not work at either facility over 40 hours per week.
In the above situation, the two assisted living facilities are owned by the same company and, thus, would likely be considered to be joint employers. This means her hours at both facilities should be aggregated to 50 hours per week, which means she is entitled to 10 hours of overtime pay per week.
Some other common joint employment scenarios include:
- Servers working for two different restaurants that are owned by the same person;
- An employee working for two separate franchises of the same company; or
- An company that hires a staffing agency or other type of subcontractor to hire, manage, or pay employees (the company and the subcontractor would be joint employers).
It is highly important for employees to understand when they have joint employers so that they can recognize when a violation of FLSA is occurring. If a violation has occurred, the DOL mandates that all joint employers will be held jointly and severally liable for the violation. This means that either employer may be held fully responsible for the losses the employee incurred.
Discuss A Possible Case With A Plantation, Florida Employment Lawyer Today
It can often be difficult to determine whether you have joint employers under the law, so it is important to consult with a wage and employment attorney if you believe your rights have been violated. Please call the law office Robert S. Norell in Plantation, FL at 800-796-0849 for help today.