This week, the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, Richard R. Griffin Jr., determined that McDonald’s is jointly liable for the employment actions of its franchisee operators. This ruling comes after various complaints that McDonald’s and its franchisees committed unfair labor practices, including illegal firing, threatening or penalizing workers for pro-labor activities. If McDonald’s is considered to be a joint employer, it can be held liable if one of its franchisees violates labor laws and even wage and hour laws by not paying minimum wage or overtime.
McDonald’s has approximately 13,000 franchised restaurants in the United States. Legal experts have predicted that classifying McDonald’s as a joint employer with its franchisee operators will open the door to similar classifications in other industries and companies besides McDonald’s and fast-food chains. This determination will likely be reviewed by an Administrative Law Judge and the full five-member Board in Washington.
This firm will continue to monitor the developments regarding this decision.