The “Protecting Georgia Small Businesses Act” amends Georgia’s Labor and Industrial Relations Code to provide that neither a franchisee nor a franchisee’s employee is considered an employee of a franchisor for “any purpose.” However, the amendment does not apply to Georgia Workers’ Compensation Code. The Act goes into effect on January 1, 2017.

The Georgia Legislature reportedly passed the Act in response to the National Labor Relations Board’s ruling in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., 362 NLRB No. 186 (Aug. 27, 2015). In that case, the NLRB broadened its definition of a “joint-employer” to include any entity that: (1) could exercise control over another entity’s employees’ terms and conditions of employment, whether it actually does so or not, or (2) exercises any such control through a third party.

In the wake of Browning-Ferris, several states have introduced legislation aimed at protecting businesses from the wide-ranging effects of the NLRB’s aggressive decision. For example, seven states (Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Utah) have passed legislation that, like the Georgia law, prohibit a franchisor from being considered an employer or co-employer of franchisee employees. (S.B. 652, 84th Leg., Reg. Sess. (Tex. 2015); La. Rev. Stat. 23:921(F)(2) (2015); Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-1-208(a) (2015); Wisconsin S.B. 422, 2015-2016 Session; (Michigan) MCL 421.1, et seq.; Section 41(11); 8 MCL 408.411, et seq., Section 2(d); 9 MCL 408.1001, et seq., Section 5(2); 10 MCL 408.471 et seq., Section 1(d); 11 MCL 418.101 et seq.; Indiana House Bill 1218 (2016); Utah H.B. 116, 2016 General Session.)

Similar legislative efforts have been introduced in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Virginia. (California (AB 545), Colorado (HB 16-1154), Massachusetts (HB 3513), Oklahoma (HB 3164), Pennsylvania (HB 1620), Vermont (HB 694) and Virginia (HB 18).) Legislators in Wyoming, North Carolina, Arizona, and Colorado are evaluating similar efforts.

Although the Protecting Georgia Businesses Act, and other state legislative actions, likely are preempted by the National Labor Relations Act, they represent yet another example of lawmakers’ attempts to rein in what has been described as an “activist” NLRB.

Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to answer inquiries regarding this and other developments.

 

Print:
EmailTweetLikeLinkedIn
Photo of Jonathan J. Spitz Jonathan J. Spitz

Jonathan J. Spitz is a Principal in the Atlanta, Georgia office of Jackson Lewis P.C. and he is the national co-Coordinator of the Firm’s Collegiate and Professional Sports industry group.

Mr. Spitz coordinates Jackson Lewis’ labor practice for the Southeast region of the…

Jonathan J. Spitz is a Principal in the Atlanta, Georgia office of Jackson Lewis P.C. and he is the national co-Coordinator of the Firm’s Collegiate and Professional Sports industry group.

Mr. Spitz coordinates Jackson Lewis’ labor practice for the Southeast region of the United States. He understands the practical and operational needs of clients, helping design pragmatic strategies to minimize risk and maximize performance. He was selected as a “Leader in the Field” by Chambers USA in 2009 and 2010.

He has represented management in numerous counter-organizing drives and participated in dozens of unfair labor practice proceedings, discrimination charges and other matters before the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and various federal and state administrative agencies, as well as in collective bargaining, arbitration and in employment litigation before state and federal courts. Mr. Spitz regularly counsels employers in employee relations and discipline and discharge matters, and also assists employers in drafting employment policies and in complying with the Family and Medical Leave Act, drug testing laws and regulations, the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal and state employment laws.

Mr. Spitz has extensive experience in assisting employers to create union and litigation avoidance strategies suitable to the individual organization, values and industry. He has led teams conducting multi-facility labor vulnerability assessments and has advised employers in responding to corporate campaigns and demands for card check and neutrality.

Mr. Spitz is a contributing author of Employer’s Guide to Union Organizing Campaigns, Aspen Publishers, 2007. In addition, he has authored many articles regarding labor and employment law issues which have appeared in national trade publications.

Mr. Spitz is admitted to practice in the Second, Fourth, Sixth, Eleventh and District of Columbia Circuit Courts of Appeals; the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia; and the Georgia Supreme Court.

He received his Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, from Tufts University in 1990. He earned his J.D. from Emory University in 1993