July 14, 2017
HR Policy Association Senior Labor and Employment Counsel Roger King testified before Congress this week on the increasingly difficult and expensive challenge of answering the simple question "who is an employer," a trend which court cases show is deterring companies from extending certain benefits to workers. In her opening statements, Education and the Workforce Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) noted the impropriety of the courts and federal agencies proliferating definitions of joint employer, saying, "It's time to put an end to this extreme and partisan policy that does nothing to help American workers." Responding to witnesses who said the issue should be left to the courts, Workforce Protections Subcommittee Chairman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) said, "If we don't have statutory law, we don't have clarity because we have this agency saying one thing and that agency saying something different. And it is the province of the legislative branch of this government to set the law of America." Mr. King advocated for a simple and concise definition of the term "joint employer" for federal labor and employment statutes that would also apply to state statutes providing the same protections. He also pointed out the harm incurred by workers under the uncertainty generated by multiple and expanding joint employer definitions. "Workers in certain instances," Mr. King told the committee, "may be penalized by not being provided certain workplace benefits due to an employer's concern that the extension of such benefits or standards to supplier-employed individuals would make it a joint employer." Mr. King's testimony was based on the views of member CHROs expressed in the Association's Workplace 2020 report, Making the Workplace Work. Click here to view Mr. King's testimony.