Franchise Agreements

News & Analysis as of

Franchising and Liability Under the FCPA

I am often asked about franchisor liability under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Franchising has been a successful model in the US and now many corporations are looking at overseas expansion opportunities....more

Deciphering the Franchise Disclosure Document Part 2

If you are going to buy a franchise, federal law requires the franchisor to make certain information available to help you evaluate what you are getting into. This information is provided in a “franchise disclosure document”...more

Navigating the Cyber Liability Storm Part I

Franchisors are facing a precarious three-way intersection of increased accountability and regulation over consumer privacy, the growing volume and sophistication of cyber-attacks on consumer data, and the expanding...more

It’s All in the Family: Shifting Standards for Joint-Employer Liability

The concept of joint-employer liability is popping up in the news a lot again. This is because the NLRB is taking a more aggressive view on joint-employer standards under the National Labor Relations Act, particularly as to...more

Don’t Overlook The Need to Show Irreparable Harm When Seeking Injunctive Relief to Enforce a Non-Compete

When seeking preliminary injunctive relief to enforce a non-compete, the moving party is often focused on how obvious it is that the defendant breached the parties’ agreement. As 7-Eleven recently learned, however, even when...more

Deciphering the Franchise Disclosure Document Part 1

If you are going to buy a franchise, federal law requires the franchisor to make certain information available to help you evaluate what you are getting into. This information is provided in a “franchise disclosure document”...more

NLRB Complaints Claim McDonald’s USA is “Joint Employer” Liable for Labor Violations by Its Franchisees

The Office of the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued 13 complaints, on December 19, 2014, against McDonald’s franchisees and their franchisor, McDonald’s USA, LLC (McDonald’s USA), involving...more

A Franchise Chain's Non-compete Agreement Comes Under Congressional Scrutiny

Tremors were felt throughout the franchise community when a recent article in The Huffington Post reported that the Jimmy Johns sandwich franchise is under Congressional scrutiny for its franchisees’ practice of requiring...more

For whom the bell tolls: the changing joint employer standard and what it means for your business

The joint employer standard is changing rapidly, and businesses – among them franchisors and investors – need to be aware of the emerging landscape to protect their brands and their bottom lines. The most important...more

NLRB Counsel Files Unfair Labor Practice Charges Against McDonald's Based on Joint Employment of Franchisees' Employees

Last month, the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel gave notice of its intent to jointly pursue unfair labor practice charges against McDonald’s USA and its various franchisees. Like most franchisor/franchisee...more

Franchisors Beware: NLRB Seeking to Super-Size Joint Employer Liability

The National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) General Counsel’s Office has again signaled its commitment to expanding the scope of the current test for joint employment. In a move that could have implications for a broad...more

An Undesirable Consequence

An effort by Richard Griffin, the General Counsel (GC) of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), to raise wages and otherwise benefit franchise employees may have an unexpected and undesirable consequence: a threat to...more

NLRB Claims McDonalds Is “Joint Employer” of Franchisee Employees

On December 19, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued 13 complaints naming McDonalds as a “joint employer” of the employees at its franchisees....more

NLRB Office of General Counsel Alleges Franchisor Is Liable for Claims of Its Franchisees' Employees

On December 19, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) Office of General Counsel took another step forward in its effort to erase the line between franchisors and franchisees. In a controversial move, the Office of...more

Franchisor Liability for Franchisee Employment Decisions: The NLRB's General Counsel Addresses the Move to Expand the...

In July 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) took the unexpected step of authorizing complaints against McDonald's USA, LLC and some of its franchisees for the franchisees' responses to employee protests. The Board...more

Carving Out Small

States have been vested with the responsibility to regulate the manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcoholic beverages since the repeal of Prohibition. In carrying out this authority, many states have implemented a three...more

FRANCHISOR 101: Statutes of Limitation Message for Franchisors and Franchisees

In Kroshnyi v. U.S. Pack Courier Services, Inc., a case pending for 13 years (and not over yet), numerous drivers claimed their package delivery franchisor violated New York's franchise law. From 1996 to 1998 the drivers...more

FRANCHISEE 101: Avoid Acts & Omissions That Expose Your Franchisor to Potential Liability

A West Virginia Court refused to dismiss an action brought under its state workers' compensation law. That law permits an employee to recover greater damages when deliberate intent exists. An employee of a Hardee's...more

Court Denies Motion to Remand, Rejecting Application of Home State and Local Controversy Exceptions to CAFA

The plaintiff filed a putative class action in Pennsylvania state court against two Pennsylvania defendants and one Virginia defendant, claiming that the defendants preyed on non-English speakers, illegally coercing them to...more

Direct Benefits Estoppel: 7th Cir. Explains How You Can Be Compelled To Arbitrate Without Agreeing To Do So

Everyone knows that you can’t be compelled to arbitrate a dispute unless you’ve agreed to do so. But what everyone knows is sometimes wrong. There are situations in which a person has to arbitrate even though she didn’t sign...more

Counseling Licensors on the Steps They Can Take to Avoid Creating a Franchise Relationship

Tracy Mark, who has registered her company’s brand name as a mark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, is successfully promoting her company’s products and services and now would like to leverage the market appeal of...more

FRANCHISEE 101: Illusory Arbitration Provisions Not Enforceable in Indiana

In 2010, Steak 'n Shake, a franchisor of hamburger restaurants, adopted new pricing and promotion policies that required all franchisees to follow company mandated pricing on every menu item and to participate in all...more

FRANCHISOR 101: Venue and Choice of Law Provisions Not Enforceable in California

In 2013, Pepe's Franchising, a U.K. company, entered into a Master Franchise Agreement with Frango Grill, based in California, granting the right to operate and franchise Pepe's restaurants in California. The Agreement's...more

Why Subfranchising is Rare in the U.S.

Subfranchising is one of three multi-unit franchise structures that the North American Securities Administrators Association, Inc. (NASAA) addressed in their Multi-Unit Commentary, which was the subject of an earlier post. ...more

California’s Governor Brown Does the Right Thing

The big news in franchising last week was a nonevent. Legislation in California that never should have become law did not become law. The credit for this nondevelopment goes to Governor Jerry Brown, who vetoed Senate Bill...more

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