One of the biggest unresolved labor issues facing employers in the new year is how federal regulators will determine the scope of “joint employment” business relationships, circumstances where one company can be held responsible for the workers of another.

Joint-employer disputes have kicked up significant litigation, fueled federal legislative proposals, and driven a sharp wedge between management-side lawyers and attorneys for workers’ rights. The issues touch on who’s responsible for contract workers and employees of franchises.

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