Court Determines that County was a Joint Employer

The Court of Appeal, Second District, ruled that substantial evidence supported a finding that a county was a joint employer of the employees working for medical clinics owned by private corporations under contract with the county where the county exercised control over compensation and staffing decisions, the county was responsible for the financial aspects of the clinics’ operations, the clinic had control over the conditions of employment, and the clinic controlled the clinic’s operations. (See, County of Ventura v. Public Employment Relations Board (SEIU Local 721) - filed Nov. 21, 2019 - 2019 S.O.S. 3731.

In reaching its ruling, the Court of Appeal stated that a joint-employer relationship exists when “‘two or more employers exert significant control over the same employees—where from the evidence it can be shown that they share or co-determine those matters governing essential terms and conditions of employment.’” (United Public Employees v. Public Employment Relations Bd. (1989) 213 Cal.App.3d 1119, 1128, adopting the federal test in NLRB v. Browning-Ferris Industries, Inc. (3d Cir. 1982) 691 F.2d 1117, 1124.) A joint employer relationship is established if an entity retains the right to “‘control both what shall be done and how it shall be done,’” such that it retains the “‘right to control and direct the activities of the person rendering service, or the manner and method in which the work is performed.’ [Citation.]” (Service Employees Internat. Union v. County of Los Angeles (1990) 225 Cal.App.3d 761, 769.) Whether a joint-employer relationship exists is a factual determination that we will uphold if supported by substantial evidence. (Poncio v. Department of Resources Recycling & Recovery (2019) 34 Cal.App.5th 663, 673.)


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