NLRB General Counsel Authorizes Complaints Against Both McDonald’s Franchisees and Franchisor


The Office of the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) has been investigating charges against McDonald’s franchisees that they violated their employees’ labor rights in connection with employee protests.  Yesterday, July 29, 2014, the General Counsel authorized complaints against both the McDonald’s franchisees and, startlingly, their franchisor for those alleged violations.

The General Counsel’s decision permits the McDonald’s franchisor to be named as a “joint employer” in the complaints.  Therefore, the franchisor could be held responsible if a franchisee committed a violation of the labor laws.  If sustained by an administrative law judge and/or the NLRB, this decision would represent a significant expansion of the “joint employer” theory that could have wide-ranging implications not only for the fast-food industry but also for businesses like hotels and car dealerships.  Connell Foley’s labor and employment law attorneys will continue to track the developments of this case.