Senator Lankford Praises Updates to Outdated Labor Laws

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) praised the Department of Labor’s finalization of a rule on January 12 that provides a much-needed update to the joint employer provisions under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The final rule will take effect March 16, 2020.

“The previous joint employer rule had the potential to devastate America’s franchise, small-business economy,” said Lankford. “Oklahoma small businesses consistently tell me they want greater clarity and consistency from the federal government when applying federal labor rules and laws. This important rule update provides more of both to businesses in my state. At a minimum, employees and businesses deserve to know who they work for and who can be held liable. I support President Trump’s decision to roll back the confusing and overreaching joint employer rule put in place by the previous administration.”

In August 2019 Lankford and Senator Angus King (I-ME) introduced a bill to help protect the franchise model by codifying in law what constitutes a joint employment relationship. The bill corrected a decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in which the Board reversed a 30-year standard that a business needs “direct and immediate” control over their subcontracted businesses or franchisees. The NLRB decision ultimately means that actions taken by a trademark owner to maintain brand standards may cause courts to consider the trademark owner a joint employer of a franchisee’s employees, which could make the trademark owner liable for wrongdoing committed by the franchisee.

As the Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, Lankford remains actively engaged in addressing broken regulatory processes government wide.