On January 20, 2016, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a new Administrative Interpretation (“AI”) that suggests they will use their enforcement efforts to pursue wage and hour claims against more entities through the joint employer doctrine. The text of the AI can be found here. While this does not represent a change in the actual law, the AI suggests that when the DOL brings enforcement actions for wage and hour issues that it will seek to cast as wide of a net as possible and bring in as many entities as possible under the joint employer doctrine.
Generally speaking, an employer may have two or more employers for purposes of wage and hour liability where the employee is suffered or permitted to perform work for multiple related entities. Whether joint employer liability exists is important because, in such scenarios, the employee’s hours of work for both employers are aggregated together for purposes of determining overtime pay and there is joint and several liability for all employers for any violations. The AI provides additional detail regarding such issues along with examples proffered by the DOL where they contend joint employer liability would exist.
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