Federal agencies Inspections

OSHA draft guidance on joint employers and inspections draws GOP scrutiny

republican party logo

Photo: southsidecanuck/iStockphoto

Washington – A draft guidance document from OSHA that would require inspectors to obtain information to determine whether franchisors and franchisees are joint employers – and therefore liable for safety violations – has triggered concerns among some House Republicans.

The GOP majority on the Education and the Workforce Committee sent a letter Oct. 13 to Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez stating that the draft memorandum advises OSHA inspectors to “delve into unrelated matters – financial and otherwise – far outside their expertise.”

For example, when determining the overall relationship between the corporate entity and the franchise, the draft guidance proposes that inspectors consider the interaction between the franchisor and franchisee, royalties paid by the franchise for corporate trademarks, rules the corporate entity has on brand standards, and whether corporate creates the menus or provides a set of operating procedures.

For OSHA inspectors to inquire into such matters would take time away from worker safety and health, GOP committee leaders claim. The letter also states that OSHA has a “robust” multiemployer citation policy, and the agency lacks evidence to suggest that policy is not sufficient.

The committee requested a response from Perez no later than Oct. 27.