Whistleblower Law Blog

ALJ Order Expands Joint Employer Liability Under the Surface Transportation Assistance Act

On March 11, 2010, Administrative Law Judge Rae issued an order holding that an agreement which provides a joint employer with the ability to accept or cancel the assignment of a leased employee may be sufficient to establish liability under the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA).  In Myers v. AMS Staff Leasing, the respondent contracted with trucking company New Rising Fenix, Inc. to provide payroll, benefits, and human resource services.  The respondent moved to dismiss, arguing that they did not exercise sufficient control over the complainants to establish liability under the STAA.  In support, the respondent cited cases holding that employment leasing contract provisions required by Florida law are not sufficient to create liability under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Judge Rae agreed that the FLSA and STAA are sufficiently similar to exempt an employer from liability on the sole basis of statutorily mandated contact provisions.  However, the respondent still failed to demonstrate that it did not have the ability to control the complainants since the joint employers’ contract provided the respondent with the discretion to cancel the assignment of certain employees.

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