NLRB Charges McDonald's as a Joint Employer with its Franchisees

Friday, January 9, 2015
In December of 2014 the NLRB decided that McDonald's was a joint employer with its franchisees for purposes of collective bargaining. The NLRB filed 78 complaints against McDonald's around the country. The NLRB issued a “fact sheet” explaining that:

"Our investigation found that McDonald’s, USA, LLC, through its franchise relationship and its use of tools, resources and technology, engages in sufficient control over its franchisees’ operations, beyond protection of the brand, to make it a putative joint employer with its franchisees, sharing liability for violations of our Act. This finding is further supported by McDonald’s, USA, LLC’s nationwide response to franchise employee activities while participating in fast food worker protests to improve their wages and working conditions."

The inclusion of McDonald's as a joint employer is part of an effort by the NLRB to change the current joint employer standard under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The application of the new joint employer standard will raise the risk of vicarious liability under the NLRA for franchisors.
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