Fourth Circuit Sets Joint Employment Test


In a wage and over-time pay lawsuit filed under state and federal law, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals set forth its own test for “joint employer” relationships under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The issue was whether two persons or companies constitute joint employers for FLSA purposes.

The court stated that joint employment exists when (1) two or more persons or entities share, agree to allocate responsibility for, or otherwise codetermine essential terms and conditions of worker’s employment and (2) the two entities’ combined influence over the essential terms and conditions of the worker’s employment render the worker an employee as opposed to an independent contractor. The court set out six (6) distinct factors to examine and meeting only one of those factors can support a finding of a joint employer relationship.

Salinas v. Commercial Interiors, Inc. has broad implications for the wage and overtime responsibilities of employers located within the Fourth Circuit, which has jurisdiction over appeals from federal courts located in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia.

In another case decided the same day using the new test, the Fourth Circuit applied the test it announced in Salinas to find that satellite television installation technicians were jointly employed by both DirecTV and the subcontractor that employed them initially, so the technicians could bring wage and hour claims against both DirecTV and the contractor.

For help with employment law questions or other civil litigation issues, call Tracy Stroud, Attorney with Colombo Kitchin Attorneys in Greenville, NC, at 252-321-2020.