NLRB Rules McDonald's Can Be Treated as Joint Employer With Franchisees

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Office of the General Counsel recently determined that McDonald's Corporation could be treated as a joint employer with its franchisees in labor complaints to the Board.  The NLRB investigated charges alleging McDonald’s franchisees and their franchisor, McDonald’s, USA, LLC, violated the rights of employees as a result of activities surrounding employee protests. Since November of 2012, there have been 181 cases involving McDonald's filed with the NLRB.  Sixty-four cases are currently pending.  The NLRB has determined that 43 have merit.  The Office of the General Counsel has authorized complaints on these alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act.  If the parties cannot reach settlement in these cases, complaints will issue and McDonald’s, USA, LLC will be named as a joint employer respondent. 

By allowing companies to be treated as joint employers, the NLRB has made it difficult for these companies to claim that they are not responsible for the labor actions of the franchisee partners.  It would make the companies more vulnerable to campaigns for better working conditions and higher wages.  This decision may threaten the franchise agreements held between corporations and their franchisees.  

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