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New England Legal Foundation Cheers Decision Limiting Corporate Liability

Massachusetts Top Court Decision Parallels Amicus Brief Filed by NELF

BOSTON – The New England Legal Foundation today cheered this week’s decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in the case of Jinks v. Credico, which limited the basis for imposing liability on an outside company as a worker’s “joint employer” under the Massachusetts Wage Act. NELF had filed an amicus brief in the case arguing for a legal framework by which the Court could rule in favor of the business defendant involved, based on the foundational principle of corporate separateness.

In its decision of December 13, the Court agreed with many of NELF’s key points and decided for Credico, concluding that Credico was not the joint employer of DFW’s workforce merely because DFW contracted with Credico to perform services for Credico, through DFW’s workforce. The Court adopted many of the key arguments in NELF’s brief, such as the argument that the plaintiffs failed to show that Credico was the “alter ego” of their employer. The Court also agreed with NELF that the Massachusetts independent contractor statute is irrelevant to deciding this issue of joint employer liability.

Ben Robbins, Senior Staff Attorney for NELF and author of the amicus brief, commented that the four-part joint employer test announced by the Court is “arguably an application of the traditional corporate ‘alter ego’ test to the special circumstances of the employment relationship. That test still respects corporate separateness. It allows one company, here Credico, to exercise basic measures of quality control over another company without becoming a ‘joint employer’ of that other company’s workforce under the Wage Act.”

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About the New England Legal Foundation: For nearly 50 years, the New England Legal Foundation has filed amicus briefs and impact litigation in support of free enterprise, property rights, good and limited government, and inclusive economic growth. NELF Website

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