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National Restaurant Association - Congress acts to save local businesses

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Congress acts to save local businesses

Today, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce began markup of H.R. 3441, the Save Local Business Act. If passed, the legislation would address the National Labor Relations Board’s expanded definition of the joint-employer standard.

The NLRB dramatically expanded the definition in 2015 to include indirect and potential control of employees, overturning three decades of labor law and creating confusion for restaurants and other small businesses. As a result, small businesses like restaurants could be held liable for the actions of other companies simply because they do business with them.

VIDEO: Pass H.R. 3441, the ‘Save Local Business Act'

We’ve been working with Congress to pass this legislation to restore clarity and fairness for restaurants and other small businesses. The lead champion on this issue is Chairman Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.), who heads up the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections in the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. He is the author of H.R. 3441.

“...Two completely separate employers can be considered joint employers if they make a business agreement that indirectly or even potentially impacts employees. Those are certainly vague terms. So vague, that many lawyers may not even agree on exactly what they mean. But we know that the real world impact has been confusion, uncertainty and growing legal jeopardy.”

Chairman Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.)

In today’s markup, Chairman Byrne specifically brought up the impact joint employer could have on a restaurant in his district.

Restaurants across the country have taken to their local newspapers to let lawmakers know why they need to restore the joint employer standard:

“The uncertainty is nothing more than governmental overreach that is crippling eateries like Wintzell’s and discouraging growth throughout the restaurant industry.”

Bob Omainsky, Wintzell’s Oyster House, Mobile, Ala.

“The new joint employer standard is aimed directly at the destruction of small businesses in my local community outside Atlanta, of the small businesses in this state, and
in every state across the country.”

Fred Weir, Zaxby’s, Savannah, Ga.

“This policy pits the little guy against the big. We can no longer be in this together; it’s every entity for itself. That’s not the dream on which America was built.”

Jerry Reese, Dat Dog, New Orleans

 “We must seek expensive counsel to determine if simple decisions – like compiling a brand-wide employee handbook or offering franchisees software to track job applications – might put us in legal jeopardy. The hard truth is that many businesses will step away from offering these crucial benefits rather than take the risk of being a guinea pig in a lawsuit.”

Ali Nekumanesh, Deli Delicious Franchising, Inc., Fresno, Calif.

Read more about our stance on the joint-employer issue


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