US labor board overturns major ruling, citing Trump appointee's conflict
William Emanuel (Screen Capture)

A U.S. labor agency on Monday overturned a recent decision that made it more difficult for companies to be held liable for labor law violations by contractors and franchisees, saying an appointee of President Donald Trump had a conflict of interest.


The National Labor Relations Board said board member William Emanuel, who joined the agency in 2017, should not have taken part in the decision because it affected a separate case involving his former law firm, Littler Mendelson.

The NLRB in a 3-2 decision in December said companies are only "joint employers" of contractors' workers when they have direct control over working conditions.

The decision overturned a 2015 board ruling involving sanitation company Browning-Ferris Industries that said a company only needs to exercise indirect control over workers to be considered a joint employer.

Littler Mendelson, one of the largest law firms in the world that focuses exclusively on labor law, represented a staffing company involved in the Browning-Ferris case.

(Reporting by Daniel Wiessner in Albany, New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)