Q&A with Michael Avery
Is your company a joint employer with the government?
Q: If a company contracts to provide services to a government entity, can an employee or former employee name both the company and the government as his or her employer in litigation?
A: Maybe. Several employment-related causes of action require that the plaintiff demonstrate an employment relationship between himself and the defendant. These include, for example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. If a company that is contractually obligated to provide services on behalf of the government issued by one of its current or former employees under such a statute, the employee may attempt to attach liability to both the company and the government.
Q: In determining such relationships, what standard will a court apply?
A: The court will endeavor to determine whether, on an individual basis, the company and the government share or co-determine the essential terms and conditions of the individual's employment. Most important to the court's analysis will be whether the government has or shares in the right to terminate the individual's employment.