NLRB Announces Final Rule Defining Joint-Employer Status

NLRB Announces Final Rule Defining Joint-Employer Status

Reversal of 2015 Browning-Ferris Decision is Big Win for NWRA

Arlington, VA – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced today that it will issue its final rule governing joint-employer status under the National Labor Relations Act on February 26. The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) appreciates NLRB’s recognition that the current standard lacks the clarity and consistency that businesses require in order to comply.

The final rule, which goes into effect on April 27, 2020, restores NLRB’s long-held joint-employer standard that was in place prior to the 2015 Browning-Ferris decision. The new rule entails even greater precision, clarity and detail satisfying NWRA’s request in its November 2018 comments on the proposed rule to provide clear guidance for the industry.

Important to NWRA’s members, among other things, is the Browning-Ferris decision that had put users of contractors at risk of a joint-employer finding if they required their contractors’ workers to follow safety rules generally applicable to anyone on the premises, regardless of their employment status.

“Safety is the top concern for NWRA and our members. We want every single member of our industry to make it home each day safely. We believe that a clear delineation of employer responsibility as the NLRB sets forth in this new rule will help ensure a safer workplace. The previous blanket assumption of joint-employer status could result in confusing and conflicting directives that make employees less, not more, safe,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith.

Full details on the new rule can be found here.


The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) represents the private sector waste and recycling services industry. Association members conduct business in all 50 states and include companies that manage waste, recycling and medical waste, equipment manufacturers and distributors, and a variety of other service providers. For more information about NWRA, please visit

Brandon Wright
National Waste and Recycling Association