McDonald’s Court Case Postponed Over Unsuitable Courtroom
McDonald’s fast-food chain officials expressed disappointment with federal labor representatives Monday for delaying its case against them because a suitable courtroom was not secured in time for the trial.
McDonald’s is one of a few companies faced with the new challenge on how employment is defined under the national franchise model. The potential precedent could upend the franchise model, and countless businesses along with it. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) got the case’s administrative law Judge Lauren Esposito to postpone the Friday trial until an undetermined date because of technical issues, Reuters reports.
“McDonald’s is disappointed that the judge had to delay the trial because the NLRB was unable to provide a suitable courtroom and video equipment for the case they consolidated with 29 franchisees,” a company representative told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “McDonald’s remains prepared to defend our position that we are not a joint employer with McDonald’s franchisees.”
The technical video problems prevented critical evidence from being presented by the NLRB. The case could determine whether McDonald’s corporate would become responsible for any unfair labor practice complaints since they will be considered an employer under the joint-employer standard.
The National Labor Relations Act dictates that a corporation can be considered an employer over a business it contracts with if it has direct control over employment. Cases involving McDonald’s, CNN and Browning-Ferris Industries have allowed the NLRB to revisit the joint-employer standard.
Usually the standard helps to resolve labor disputes between two companies. The new standard now considers factors beyond just employment, and makes it easier for the NLRB to declare two or more companies as joint-employers. Businesses have argued the new standard is not well-defined, which has caused uncertainty in business operations.
The NLRB has defended the potential changes by noting franchisers oftentimes have too much control over the independent franchisees for them to be considered their own independent operations. Republican lawmakers and business leaders say that expanding the standard could undermine contracting and the franchise model. Restaurants, cleaners, staffing agencies and retailers are just a few broad examples of businesses that rely on the franchise model.
Some critics have also claimed the decision to expand the standard is to benefit unions. If every franchisee under a corporate brand is suddenly considered one labor operation, unions have the option of organizing the entire thing — as opposed to each individual business within the system.
The NLRB did not respond to a request for comment by TheDCNF.
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