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Who’s Your Boss? Team Trump Has a Clear New Answer

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Does he know who his boss is?

If you’re a typical wage earner, then your employer is obligated to pay you at least the federal minimum wage, along with overtime if you work beyond 40 hours in a given week. But who is your employer? On Sunday, the administration of President Donald Trump brought a common-sense answer to this important and, surprisingly, unresolved question.

Determining who is liable for violations of employment law is more complicated than it may seem. Take a cashier at, say, an independent McDonald’s franchise. Certainly she works for the franchised restaurant. But does she also work for McDonald’s, the national brand? What responsibility does McDonald’s Corp. have for her?

The waters are similarly murky for an employee of a staffing agency or a contractor who is assigned to a business, like a security officer who is assigned to a law firm. If the guard is owed overtime but doesn’t receive it, who should be held accountable? The agency? The law firm? Both?

These issues have grown in importance as companies increasingly contract with outside firms for many services and functions that would once have been taken care of in-house. At large employers, it is now common for building maintenance, security, kitchen, laundry and custodial staff not to work directly for the company they report to each day. Today, it is even common for hotel rooms to be cleaned by employees of temporary........

© Bloomberg