A circuit court in California ruled that the McDonald’s corporation is not at fault for the actions of one of their franchise owners, who was found in violation of state wage laws.
The Haynes Family Limited Partnership owns multiple McDonald’s franchises in the state of California and was accused of wage violations by a group of their employees. The workers identified McDonald’s as a liable party for the violation because it appeared that a defect in the company’s timekeeping computer system was responsible. However, McDonald’s denied their liability because they are not considered a “joint employer.” According to representatives of McDonald’s, the company only interferes with the operations of their franchise locations by completing quality control checks.
As reported by Bloomberg Law, “A class of workers at franchises owned by the Haynes Family Limited Partnership failed to show the fast-food giant had control over their hours, wages, or working conditions.” Essentially, there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that the McDonald’s corporation was responsible for the violations because they do not handle wages for that location. The court ruled that in its role, McDonald’s does not fit the definition of an employer by California law.
This case raises questions about the liability of corporations and their role in wage and hour violations. Is this true of all franchise operations? Are corporations responsible for the actions of their franchise operators?
A corporation’s liability in employment law violations depends on their role in the operations of a franchise location. In the McDonald’s case, the company was excused from liability because the court determined they did not have any role in committing the violation or in any aspect of the location’s wage and hour operations. However, this may not be true for all businesses. Some companies have total control over their franchise locations, while others take a more laissez-faire approach. In any similar case, liability will ultimately come down to which parties manage wage administration.
If your employer is violating wage and hour laws, contact Donati Law, PLLC. We represent the rights of workers and are prepared to take on your case.
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