Established labor law provides few answers to the multitude of issues you face regarding variations of the traditional workforce, including telecommuters, contingent workers, independent contractors and interns. The courts are just beginning to grapple with liability issues created by workplace variations. Until the rules become established, you must educate yourself about the issues that are likely to arise in the evolving workplace so you can make informed decisions and implement sound policies.
The growing trend toward using less-traditional employer-employee relationships, such as using independent contractors, has led to questions about which entity will be liable when there is an employment violation.
In recent years, workers and worker representatives have attempted to expand the traditional definitions of “employer” and “employee” to broaden the potential points of recovery for wage-and-hour and other employment law violations. This has lead to expanded liability concerns for those who outsource, use staffing agencies, subcontract for services or are franchisors. For instance, the National Labor Relations Board has recently taken an expansive view of who is a “joint employer” for purposes of unfair labor practice charges. Also, the California legislature has expanded wage-and-hour liability for employers that contract for labor.
The distinction between direct employment and indirect employment (temporary workers, leased employees and independent contractors) is often blurred by the details of the arrangements and laws or court decisions designed to protect the interests of workers. This section explains how to make those distinctions and the implications of failing to do so.
This section also provides a discussion of the many issues you are likely to face when employing indirect employees. This section includes a comprehensive compilation of topics about telecommuting, such as supervision, computer issues, wage and hour issues, workers’ compensation and safety and health concerns.
Health care staffing, benefits and union issues are also discussed.