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Economy

Attorney General joins opposition to federal rule change she says would weaken employee protections

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Attorney General Dana Nessel joined today with 25 other state Attorneys General to oppose a proposed federal rule change she said would weaken employee protections.

Last year, the National Labor Relations Board proposed to tighten the joint-employer rule. That rule determines whether companies can be held accountable for labor violations committed by their subcontractors.

In a 12-page letter to the Board, the Attorneys General argued the change would make it harder to hold companies accountable for violations of minimum wage, overtime, or anti-discrimination laws.

Kelly Rossman-McKinney is a spokesperson for the Attorney General. She said currently the joint-employer rule is broadly defined.

“Like a company that is part of a franchise you’ve got both the franchise holder and the franchiser who are considered joint-employers.”

Rossman-McKinney said companies commonly structure their businesses to limit legal and monetary liability.

“And this tends to especially impact middle and lower income employees.”

The loosening of the rule, Rossman-McKinney argued, would make it harder to hold companies accountable for violations of labor law.

The letter from multiple Attorneys General also points out that the rule change could dissuade workers from unionizing “by leading them to believe that even if they unionize, they will not be able to bargain with the party that most fundamentally controls their working conditions.”

Public comment is open on the proposed rule change through February 11th.