Terri Gerstein Advocates for Joint Employer Laws to Protect Workers Employed under the “Fissured Workplace” Business Model

Terri Gerstein (’95), Director of the State and Local Enforcement Project at the Harvard Law School Labor and Worklife Program, authored an opinion for NBC News advocating for worker protections against the fissured workplace – a business model enabling companies to avoid employer responsibilities that can lead to violations of workers’ rights (“Kim Kardashian Is Being Sued for Employment Practices That Are Sadly Common,” May 26). Regarding a recent wage theft lawsuit against Kim Kardashian West, Terri noted, “The ‘it wasn’t me’ reaction to workplace abuse doesn’t reflect a moral failing that’s uniquely hers. Rather, it’s part of a pervasive trend in many industries and workplaces: Companies . . . subcontract, use temp agencies, outsource, sell franchises, misclassify workers as independent contractors – basically arrange their business structures in a way that seeks to eliminate any obligations to the people who actually do the work. . . . [I]t’s certainly time for laws that would actually protect workers from players who hold the power but pass the buck.”