Butler v. Drive Automotive Indus., No. 14-1348 (4th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed a Title VII employment discrimination suit, seeking to recover for sexual harassment she allegedly experienced while working at a Drive factory. Drive argued that
plaintiff was actually employed by a temporary staffing agency, ResourceMFG, and therefore Drive was not an “employer” subject to Title VII liability. Although the district court acknowledged that in some instances an employee can have multiple “employers” for Title VII purposes, it concluded that in this case ResourceMFG was plaintiff’s sole employer. The court agreed with the district court and its sister circuits and concluded that Title VII provides for joint employer liability. The court also concluded that the so-called “hybrid” test, which considers both the common law of agency and the economic realities of employment, is the correct means to apply the joint employment doctrine to the facts of a case. In this case, the district court did not explicitly use the "hybrid" test in its opinion and thus the court articulated the hybrid test for the joint employment context and applied it to the facts of this case, concluding that Drive was indeed plaintiff's employer. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment to Drive and remanded for further consideration of plaintiff's Title VII claims.