On December 28, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a decision refusing to enforce a 2015 National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) employment ruling under which regulated entities could be deemed “joint employers” of another company’s employees—and then held fully liable for any obligations owed to those employees. The decision was largely favorable to WLF, which filed a brief urging rejection of the NLRB ruling. The court agreed with WLF that Congress did not authorize NLRB to designate a company the “joint employer” of the employees of its independent contractors simply because the company exerts control over the manner in which the independent contractors operate. Rather, such designation is permissible only if the company controls the “essential terms and conditions of employment” for the contractor’s employees—albeit the court recognized that such controls are a relevant consideration even if only “indirect.”


D.C. Circuit decision