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The Misfit Doctrine: Integrated Enterprise in the Title VII Context

By Monica K. Loseman
October 01, 2004
With increasing frequency Plaintiffs’ attorneys, ever in seek of the deepest pocket, are relying on the integrated enterprise doctrine to join parent or affiliate companies as defendants in Title VII and other discrimination suits against their subsidiary or sister companies, alleging that the entities’ “integrated” status makes them the plaintiff’s joint employer. However, the integrated enterprise doctrine, a four-part analysis originally promulgated by the National Labor Relations Board, embodies a relatively lenient approach and cannot reasonably be relied upon to yield consistent and fair results under Title VII. Developed approximately forty years before Title VII was even adopted, the integrated enterprise doctrine is slowly being questioned and rejected by some courts in favor of alternative approaches tailored somewhat more precisely to serve the policy goals of Title VII....