Who says the news is always negative? Not so in Alabama, where we were treated this headline on AL.com:
Teen reunited with pet rooster lost at Alabama Cracker Barrel after Civil War reenactment
It seems an 18-year old Civil Ward reenactor brought his Buff Orpington rooster, Peep, to a civil war reenactment in nearby Tennessee, then stopped for lunch afterward. Our hero dutifully put on Peep’s leash and secured him to the bed of his truck while dining at a nearby Cracker Barrel after the event. But when he returned, the rooster was gone.
Police and animal control were summoned to the scene. The parties were later reunited when Peep wandered back to the Cracker Barrel, and this story had a happy ending. This had been Peep’s third Civil War reenactment, although his role in the battle plan was unclear. Fortunately for Peep, further battles lie ahead.
Further battles lie ahead in Congress too, not for roosters but for businesses everywhere. Rep. Bobby Scott and 200 Democratic co-sponsors have re-introduced a massive labor bill that fulfills every wish of the unions.
The PRO Act – Protecting the Right to Organize – would bring a massive overhaul to the National Labor Relations Act. Two portions of the bill would affect independent contractor misclassification and joint employment.
First, the PRO Act would re-adopt the Browning-Ferris test for determining whether someone is a joint employee of two employers. This test had been adopted by the Obama Board but reversed by the Trump Board. The test would consider two entities to be joint employers if they “share or codetermine” control over workers’ terms of employment. The notion of control would be broad. It would include not just actual direct control, but reserved control or indirect control. Under the original Browning-Ferris test, control over the speed of an assembly line was considered sufficient control to make a business a joint employer.
Second, the PRO Act would adopt a nationwide strict ABC Test for determining whether someone is an employee or independent contractor. The new rule would require that all workers performing services be considered employees under the NLRA unless (all three):
(A) the individual is free from the employer’s control in connection with the performance of the service, both under the contract for the performance of service and in fact;
(B) the service is performed outside the usual course of the business of the employer; and
(C) the individual is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession, or business of the same nature as that involved in the service performed.
This is the same test adopted by California (recall Dynamex and AB 5) but without the exceptions. California lawmakers recognized this test wouldn’t work in all industries and adopted a long list of exceptions to this test.
The PRO Act would not have any exceptions.
It’s no surprise that the bill was reintroduced. A similar bill was passed by the House last year but never considered by the Senate.
While 60 votes in the Senate isn’t going to happen, this bill deserves a close and watchful eye. (Follow its progress here.)
That means really watching it, not just tying it to the bed of your truck and hoping it’s still there after you finish your Cracker Barrel omelet.
© 2021 Todd Lebowitz, posted on WhoIsMyEmployee.com, Exploring Issues of Independent Contractor Misclassification and Joint Employment. All rights reserved.
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