Amazon is working to shift its logistics duties away from parcel services like UPS and FedEx and more toward trucking company contractors. But now, the e-commerce company is facing legal challenges from those truck drivers who allege in their wage lawsuit that Amazon is a joint employer because of the level of control Amazon has over these workers.
We saw this same legal reasoning in a recent California federal lawsuit against McDonald’s Corp., which agreed to pay a franchisee’s workers $3.75 million to settle a wage-and-hour class action lawsuit filed by workers who alleged the company had joint employer status because it controlled so many elements of the job. Meanwhile, McDonald’s has another case pending before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which is considering allegations of unfair labor practices as the joint employer of workers at franchise locations.
As the U.S. Department of Labor has laid out, joint employment exists when a worker is employed by two or more employers, such that the employers are responsible – individually and jointly – to comply with laws ensuring worker rights. Determining whether a company is a joint employer can be a complex process, and it involves an analysis of issues like:
- Does the other employer supervise, control or direct the work?
- Do employers share supervisory authority over workers?
- Do employers treat employees as a pool of workers available to both?
- Do they share customers or clients?
- Is the employee’s work integral to the other employee’s business?
- Are employer operations intermingled?